- The new Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia commenced operation on 1 September 2021.
- The merger has created a single point of entry to the family courts, with the intention of creating a more streamlined approach to litigation and significantly reducing wait times for litigants.
The new Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (‘FCFCoA’) commenced operation on 1 September 2021. The merger has created a single point of entry with the intention of creating a more streamlined approach to litigation and significantly reducing wait times for litigants. The new legislation and practice directions can be found at the new court website (see https://www.fcfcoa.gov.au/).
The new court system places a greater emphasis on:
- educating and encouraging parties to resolve disputes before commencing proceedings (provided it is safe to do so); and
- ensuring the parties understand what needs to be done by both parties, in the event proceedings are commenced.
- There are mandatory ‘pre action procedures’ that must be completed prior to commencing proceedings and parties will be required to provide an undertaking to the Court that they have complied as far as is possible.
The Court aims to:
- follow a nationally consistent pathway for all proceedings;
- appropriately triage matters early in proceedings with tailored courses of action for vulnerable parties and children at high risk;
- place significant focus on compliance with court orders and rules;
- provide ongoing opportunities for dispute resolution; and
- list a matter for final hearing before a Judge within 12 months, if the dispute cannot be resolved.
The role and titles of Registrars have been changed as follows:
- Senior Registrars are now Senior Judicial Registrars;
- Registrars are now Judicial Registrars; and
- Assistant Registrars are now Deputy Registrars.