Litigants and legal representatives should use the forms approved by the Chief Judge. An amendment to the Federal Circuit Court Rules 2001 introduced a new approval process for forms used in the Federal Circuit Court. The amendments mean that the forms can be approved by the Chief Judge, without the need of a formal rule amendment.

The Federal Circuit Court has two divisions, created by the Fair Work (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Act 2009, a general division and a Fair Work division.

As from 1 July 2009 proceedings in the Court must be instituted, heard and determined in one of these divisions.

General division

All proceedings except those heard in the Fair Work division are heard by the general division. In general federal law matters, proceedings should be commenced by an Application-General Federal Law, except for ADJRbankruptcy and migration. A respondent to an application may file a Response-General Federal Law, except for bankruptcy.

In family law matters, proceedings should be commenced by an Initiating Application (family law), except for divorce and contravention applications. A respondent to an application may file a Response.

A person filing an application or response, whether seeking final, interim or procedural orders, must file an affidavit stating the facts relied on. However an affidavit is not required in all circumstances, see Subrule 4.05(2) and (3).

Where an application has already commenced, a person must file an Application in a Case. This form should be used by any person when seeking interlocutory, interim or procedural orders, if the orders were not sought in the original application of response.

Note: A person cannot file an application for interlocutory, interim or procedural order unless an application for a final order has been filed with the Court.

Depending on the type of proceeding, a person may be required to file other forms and documents; for example, a financial statement. It is advisable to check if any further forms or documents are required to be filed with an application or response.

Fair Work division

Applications which must be filed in the Fair Work division include proceedings commenced under:

In Fair Work division matters, proceedings should be commenced by an Application – Fair Work Division. A respondent to an application may file a Response – General Federal Law.

The Rules provide that unless the Court otherwise orders, strict compliance with forms is not required and substantial compliance is sufficient; see Subrule 2.04(1). Existing Family Court or Federal Court forms which are filed in the Federal Circuit Court should be altered by inserting the heading Federal Circuit Court of Australia.