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Merger of the family law courts

The Federal Circuit Court and Family Courts will formally combine to form the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia on 1 September 2021.

The Federal Circuit Court and Family Courts will formally combine to form the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia on 1 September 2021. This merger has given the courts an opportunity to think about possible improvements.

There will be:

  • a greater emphasis on encouraging parties to settle disputes before issuing proceedings at court
  • a dedicated List for contravention of orders (first court event within 14 days of application)
  • Property-only matters will also be separated out into their own list
  • single entry point
  • harmonised rules, forms and case management processes
  • identifying risk and safety at the beginning of every matter remains a priority
  • new case management model where registrars and family consultants will be involved much earlier in the process:
    • duty lists will be will be conducted by registrars
    • interim hearings will be conducted by senior registrars
    • freeing Judges for trials
    • aim to resolve 90 per cent of matters within 12 months.

New rules and practice directions will commence on 1 September 2021. To access the Bills, practice direction and tranisitional aids, see Legislation.

There will also be a new website: fcfcoa.gov.au, due to be launched to coincide with the new court.

There will be a 90-day grace period, where lawyers may use the old forms, Partly completed forms in the Commonwealth Courts Portal will be deleted on 31 August 2021.

For details, see Family law courts combine.

Updated