On 17 February 2021, the Federal Parliament passed the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Act 2020 and the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Act 2020.
The new Acts allow for the amalgamation of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCA) with two Divisions: one which will include Judges of the Family Court of Australia dealing with the most complex matters and exercising appellate jurisdiction, the other consisting of Judges of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, which will be the single point of entry for Family Law and child support cases.
In the exercise of its jurisdiction the FCFCA will continue to have a statutory obligation to have regard to the need to protect the rights of children and to promote their welfare and protect them from family violence.
Insofar as clients are concerned, there will be no immediate impact to their matters, or the work carried out in relation to them as a result of the amalgamation. Particularly, there will be no added delays produced by the change and any procedural changes will be dealt with internally.
In its recent media release on the 23rd of February 2021, the Court said that its continued focus will be on implementing key case management improvements and family violence-related reforms such as rules harmonisation, the Lighthouse Project and the national COVID-19 List.
The Court also said that it will seek further resources from the Government to carry out these reforms and other measures to reduce delays and chronic backlogs. Indeed, the intended effect of the amalgamation is to create a streamlined single point of entry, as well as harmonised rules, forms and case management approaches.
Our lawyers at Nicholes Family Lawyers will ensure to keep clients informed about the different mechanisms and overall impact that will flow from the amalgamation. Our focus and priority is to navigate and work within the new framework to advocate for those most vulnerable and impacted, they being the litigants in the system.