Introduction

This information relates to proceedings in the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and has been provided to assist court users to prepare documents for eFiling via the Commonwealth Courts Portal (CCP).

Documents must be prepared to meet the requirements of the applicable Family Court Rules and Federal Circuit Court Rules.

Unless otherwise stated the following information applies to both the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court.

Types of files that can be eFiled

For eFiling the following type of document must be filed.

  • .PDF - Portable Document Format

Font size, colour and type

General requirements for documents in the Family Court are set out in the Family Law Rules 2004 – Rule 24.01.

General requirements for documents in the Federal Circuit Court are set out in Federal Circuit Court Rules 2001 – Rule 2.01.

Use black font colour where possible. Avoid low contrast or coloured fonts such as blue and red.

Documents created using standard font types such as Arial, Times New Roman or Verdana are preferred. Where possible, avoid narrow, condensed, script or Gothic fonts.

Portable Document Format (PDFs)

PDF stands for Portable Document Format. It is a universal file format that preserves the fonts, images, graphics and layout of any source document regardless of the application and platform used to create it.

Scanned documents

Combining multiple documents and annexures into a single PDF can be done without the need to print everything and scan it together. Electronically converted PDFs are also generally much smaller in size than a scan.

Where possible, documents that only exist in paper format should be scanned and lodged with the Court. All other documents can be electronically converted from the original file by saving them as a PDF. Furthermore, individual documents can be quickly combined as PDFs using software such as Adobe Acrobat, avoiding any need to print out documents to combine them.

When scanning documents such as signed affidavits, the electronic size of the file created, regardless of the number of pages is dependent upon the resolution of the scanning. Scanning to a higher resolution will increase the size of the document. A big file will slow the upload speed in eFiling.

Documents do not have to be at the highest resolution so long as the information is clear. Resolution between 200 and 300 dpi is usually sufficient.

Ensure that there is sufficient contrast between the text and the background when scanning. The scan should be done in black and white, avoid greyscale or colour unless required.

Avoid scanning coloured paper where possible.

Large documents

Division 2.2 of the Federal Circuit Court Rules applies to the filing of documents including electronic filing and Rule 2.05 (1A) provides that a document may not be filed electronically if it is over 100 pages long.

Document size

There is a size limitation for documents eFiled via CCP. This size restriction is 30Mb.

If you have a document over the size restriction, there are several suggested options to reduce the size of the document.

Adobe Acrobat v7.0 or higher allows you to open your PDF document and compress it to become smaller in size.

There are also a number of websites that provide information and tools on how to compress a PDF.

Requirements for eFiling under the rules

Requirements for eFiling can be found in the following rules:

Family Law Rules 2004 – Rule 24.07 or Federal Circuit Court Rules 2001 – Rule 2.07A.

Please also check for any current Practice Directions in the Rules and Regulations section of the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court websites.

I’m adhering to the above rules but my document/submission for filing is still unable to be eFiled. What can I do?

If your document is within the requirements or you have been granted leave to file a document or other submission (e.g. an annexure containing cctv recordings)  that is larger than 30MB and/or more than 100 pages, please mail or email the document/file to your closest Family Law Registry.

Suggested checklist before lodging a document

  • Check font size, colour and type are consistent with the Court’s suggestions.
  • Remove any hidden text and accept all track changes.
  • Deactivate any security settings in a document including password protection, encryption or feature restrictions.

Glossary

Term

Definition

DPI

Dots per inch (DPI) refers to the print resolution.

Encryption

Encryption is a method to encode a document so a third party cannot read it.

Hidden text

Documents can contain hidden text or comments that don't normally appear on screen. Consult your software package about how to see and remove hidden text from a document.