The Federal Circuit Court was established to provide a simple and accessible alternative to litigation in the established federal courts and to relieve the workload of those courts. The Federal Circuit Court has one outcome: to provide a cheaper, simpler and faster method of dealing with less complex Family Court and Federal Court matters.
The Federal Circuit Court utilises technology to assist litigants in reducing costs and court delays. Audio and audio-visual links are used in appropriate situations.
The Federal Circuit Court of Australia Act 1999 Division 5 of part 6 provides the authority for the use of audio and audio-visual equipment:
"Section 66 Testimony by video link or audio link
(1) The Federal Circuit Court or a judge of the Federal Circuit Court may, for the purposes of any proceeding, direct or allow testimony to be given by video link or audio link."
A party to a matter before the court may request the use of audio-visual links. The judicial officer having the matter allocated to their docket will consider the request. In considering the request the judge will have regard to section 69 of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia Act 1999:
"Section 69 Conditions for use of video links and audio links
(1) The Federal Circuit Court or a judge of the Federal Circuit Court must not exercise the power conferred by subsection 66(1), 67(1) or 68(1) in relation to a video link unless the Federal Circuit Court or the judge of the Federal Circuit Court is satisfied that the following conditions are met in relation to the video link:
(a) the courtroom or other place where the Federal Circuit Court or the judge of the Federal Circuit Court is sitting is equipped with facilities (for example, television monitors) that enable all eligible persons present in that courtroom or place to see and hear the person (the remote person) who is:
(i) giving the testimony; or
(ii) appearing; or
(iii) making the submission;
as the case may be, by way of the video link;
(b) the place at which the remote person is located is equipped with facilities (for example, television monitors) that enable all eligible persons present in that place to see and hear each eligible person who is present in the courtroom or other place where the Federal Circuit Court or the judge of the Federal Circuit Court is sitting;
(c) such other conditions (if any) as are prescribed by the Rules of Court in relation to the video link;
(d) such other conditions (if any) as are imposed by the Federal Circuit Court or the judge of the Federal Circuit Court.
(2) The conditions that may be prescribed by the Rules of Court in accordance with paragraph (1)(c) include conditions relating to:
(a) the form of the video link; and
(b) the equipment, or class of equipment, used to establish the link; and
(c) the layout of cameras; and
(d) the standard of transmission; and
(e) the speed of transmission; and
(f) the quality of communication."
In considering a request the judge may take into account the factors set out in the request in addition to any other matters considered material including the cost and convenience to all parties.
Making arrangements for video link
A request should be made at least 7 days prior to the scheduled event to allow for the booking of the necessary equipment.
Requests to use video or audio links should be directed to the associate of the judge having control of the matter. Requests can be made by phone or in writing.
Parties can call 1300 352 000 if they require contact details for associates.
A party requesting the use of video link should have the capacity to advise of the following detail:
(a) The full title including the number of the matter;
(b) The address and ISDN numbers of the link venues;
(c) The reasons why such a course is desirable;
(d) The nature of the evidence;
(e) The number of witnesses to be examined;
(f) The expected duration of the link; and
(g) In the case of submissions, the expected duration of the submissions.
The party booking the link with the court is responsible for ensuring that all the appropriate material to administer the oath and copies of exhibits are available during the video link.
Upon approval of the request the associate or deputy associate to the judge will make the bookings necessary to ensure that the video equipment is available.