Family Law and Child Support

In most cases the Federal Circuit Court will endeavour to allocate an early hearing date with only one court date prior to the final hearing.

The first court date for family law applications will be a fixed period after the filing date, depending on the type of application. Most applications have a first court date about 6 weeks after filing to allow time to serve the application and for the other party to prepare a response. Some more urgent applications will have shorter periods.

The court has adopted a benchmark of two days hearing as the primary indicator for hearing a family law matter itself or transferring the proceedings to the Family Court.

With few exceptions, the practice of the court is that it will not retain longer matters in its lists.

Occasionally, the court will retain a longer matter because, for example:

  • the complexity of the matter becomes apparent only in the hearing; or
  • it is in the interests of justice for the court to continue to hear the matters notwithstanding the hearing time required.

This policy will be applied flexibly by the court.

At the first court date it is expected that the parties will be able to advise the court about the issues, the expected duration of the hearing and be prepared for the matter to be referred to family dispute resolution. The court upon application will consider whether to order discovery and subpoenas. It is expected that a final hearing date will be fixed at the first court date and that the matter will be finalised on that date in the event of family dispute resolution efforts being unsuccessful.

The Federal Circuit Court will use tele-conferencing and video link facilities where appropriate, in order to facilitate the effective management of cases filed. These facilities may also be used to assist parties who have difficulty in attending court, callovers and any other appropriate situations.

The Federal Circuit Court has jurisdiction to deal with all types of family law applications other an annulment and adoptions.

General Federal Law

In most cases the Federal Circuit Court will endeavour to allocate an early hearing date with only one court date prior to the final hearing.

Trade Practices Act applications will usually be listed for a first court date within approximately 4 weeks of the date of filing. At the first court date it is expected that parties will be able to advise the court in relation to the issues, the expected duration of the hearing and be prepared for the mater to be referred to mediation. Discovery and interrogatories will be considered by the court upon application. It is expected that a hearing date will be fixed and the matter proceed on that fixed date in the event that primary dispute resolution, eg mediation has not been successful.

Bankruptcy matters will continue to be dealt with in the same manner as presently undertaken by the Federal Court with hearing dates fixed in the Federal Circuit Court on referral of those cases ready for trial.

In appeals from the AAT referred to the Federal Circuit Court it is expected that the appeal book will be settled by the registrar on direction by a Judge. Once the appeal book is settled then subject to directions concerning the filing of submissions and authorities the matter will be listed for hearing.