In February 2021, the Senate passed the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Act 2020 providing for the amalgamation of our two specialist Family Law Courts in Australia: The Federal Circuit Court of Australia and The Family Court of Australia.
The Act provides for the establishment of a new Court, the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCA) comprising of two (2) divisions:
- FCFC Division 1 will continue the work of the Family Court of Australia, dealing with the more complex matters and exercising appellate jurisdiction; and
- FCFC Division 2 will continue the work of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and will be the point of entry for all new family law and child support cases. The FCFC Division 2 will also have jurisdiction over general federal law matters.
In a statement to the media on 23 February 2021, the Honourable Justice William Alstergren, Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia, said “to improve the system we need a streamlined single point of entry, as well as harmonized rules, forms and case management approaches.”
Under the new framework, the number of specialist Judges will increase. There are currently 33 judges in the Family Court of Australia and 40 judges in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. The amalgamation will allow for 35 specialist judges in Division 1 and 43 judges in Division 2.
The promising news for those who have current cases before either the Federal Circuit Court of Australia or the Family Court of Australia is that the structural changes should not have an immediate impact on the way cases are conducted and accordingly, should not result in further delays or backlogs.
Despite the structural changes, the core principle of the Court will remain the prioritisation of children, vulnerable parties and litigants, as well as the early and ongoing identification and appropriate management of risk factors.
At Everingham Solomons we have the expertise to assist you with all legal matters associated with Family Law because Helping You is Our Business.
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