- This practice direction applies to family law applications filed in the Brisbane, Parramatta, Adelaide and Melbourne registries of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia (“the Court”).
- This practice direction sets out guiding principles for case management arrangements for cases that meet the definition of a Priority Property Pool under $500,000 Case (PPP500). All steps taken in proceedings before the Court in these cases, including commencing proceedings, should follow these principles.
- This practice direction takes effect from the date that it is issued and, to the extent practicable, applies to all PPP500 cases filed on or after 1 March 2020.
- The practice direction is to be read together with the:
- The purpose of this practice direction is to achieve a just, efficient and timely resolution of PPP500 cases, at a cost to the parties that is reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances of the case.
- The purpose will be achieved by identifying and narrowing the issues in dispute and assisting the parties to undertake:
- Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) at the earliest opportunity; and
- where ADR is unsuccessful, providing an opportunity for a less adversarial trial or a hearing on the papers.
Requirements for a PPP500 case
- “PPP500 Case” means a case where:
- 3.1 The Initiating Application (Family Law) was filed in the Brisbane, Parramatta, Adelaide or Melbourne Registries after 1 March 2020 and invokes the jurisdiction of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia arising out of a matrimonial cause or de-facto financial cause pursuant to the Family Law Act; and
- the value of the net property of the parties (including superannuation interests) is (or appears to be) under $500,000; and
- there are no entities (such as a family trust, company, or self-managed superannuation fund) owned or in the effective control of either party that might require valuation or expert investigation; or
- the Court makes a declaration or notation that the case is designated as a PPP500 case.
- 3.2 A case filed by way of an Initiating Application filed in Family Court of Australia in the Brisbane, Parramatta, Adelaide or Melbourne Registries after 1 March 2020, and transferred to the Federal Circuit Court may be designated as a PPP500 case.
- 3.3 The following cases are not PPP500 cases:
- cases where parenting orders are sought;
- cases where parenting and financial (property and/or spousal maintenance or other financial) orders are sought together;
- Child support cases;
- Child maintenance cases;
- Contravention applications; and
- Enforcement applications.
Commencing a PPP500 case
- Pursuant to Rule 2.04 of the Federal Circuit Court Rules the PPP500 Financial Summary is an approved form for use in PPP500 cases.
- Elements of the Federal Circuit Court Rules are partially suspended for a PPP500 case. In particular, the requirement in Rule 4.05 of the Federal Circuit Court Rules to file an Affidavit and Financial Statement is waived until:
- the Court directs a party to file an Affidavit or Financial Statement; or
- ADR fails and directions requiring the filing of an Affidavit and Financial Statement are made for trial.
- A party seeking property orders where the net property of the parties (including superannuation interests) is (or appears to be) under $500,000 should commence proceedings with the filing of an Initiating Application (Family Law), and a PPP500 Financial Summary.
- Irrespective of whether a party identifies the case as a PPP500 case at the time of filing, the Court may designate a case a PPP500 case at any time including before a Response has been filed.
- Where the Court designates a case as a PPP500 case after proceedings commence, a direction may be made, by the Court, before the first court date, for the parties to file a PPP500 Financial Summary, exchange of financial documents, and related matters of practice and procedure.
Case Management of PPP500 cases
- The procedural information and particulars to give effect to this Practice Direction are contained in the Guide for Practitioners and Parties in Federal Circuit Court Priority Property Pool under $500,000 Cases. The Guide and the PPP500 Financial Summary are available on the Court’s website.
THE HONOURABLE JUSTICE WILLIAM ALSTERGREN
FEDERAL CIRCUIT COURT OF AUSTRALIA
DATE: 7 February 2020