The Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia (the ‘Courts’) will continue to perform their important duty to the Australian community including the vulnerable and those experiencing family violence.

The Courts have been closely monitoring the Government’s announcements and advice concerning COVID-19 and its management.

Recommendations regarding the Courts’ response to COVID-19 are underpinned by the need to ensure the health and safety of all involved in running and attending Court, as well as maintaining access to justice and ensuring the effectiveness of the Courts’ operations.

Coming to Court

We ask entrants to all court buildings to exercise high standards of hygiene. Hand sanitizers have been placed in communal areas, and we encourage parties to use these where possible. Additional cleaning services have been deployed in court buildings.  Further, we request that parties and practitioners only bring essential attendees to Court.

The Commonwealth Government and Department of Health have recently issued a mandatory 14 day self-isolation period for all individuals who are returning from any overseas country. If any Court attendees have recently returned from overseas and have upcoming Court hearings, including conciliations, conferences or appointments with Family Consultants, please contact Michael Raine (Legal Assistant (Paralegal)) on 08 8219 1641 or michael.raine@familycourt.gov.au for assistance and enquiries, including necessary adjournments.

Current listings

The Courts have employed a multifaceted approach to address all ongoing work. Hearings have been staggered in time and location, and parties are requested not to enter courtrooms until their matter is called.

We are making arrangements to prioritise urgent matters, including cases involving high levels of family violence and serious allegations of child abuse. Contingency plans for a variety of scenarios are being developed, should the situation escalate.

The Court is following the advice of the Commonwealth in relation to minimising the spread of the virus in the community. It is expected that this advice is likely to change at short notice. All Court attendees must also adhere to Government advice in relation to self-isolation and the management of symptoms.

More information is available from the Commonwealth Department of Health’s website:https://www.health.gov.au/

Enquiries can be directed to the National Enquiry Centre by email: enquiries@familylawcourts.gov.au or telephone: 1300 352 000.

The Courts will update their websites as new information comes to hand.