The Federal Circuit Court of Australia works hard to respect cultural protocols and is committed to planning and delivering culturally sensitive services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. 

The Court has a range of services available to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: this includes registries located all around Australia, including many regional locations. Court appearances and some hearings can also be conducted over the phone or by video when remote locations are involved.

What is family law?

Family law is about matters like separation and divorce and children and property settlement after the breakdown of a relationship. The Court can assist in making arrangements known as parenting orders that meet the needs of the children and family.

What is parental responsibility?

Parental responsibility is about decisions relating to a child’s care, welfare and development, for example, a child’s health, where a child lives and goes to school, what surname a child should have and a child’s religious and cultural upbringing.

What are parenting orders?

Parenting orders address things like who a child lives with or spends time with and who a child communicates with. You do not have to be a parent to seek parenting orders, but you do need to be a person concerned with a child’s care, welfare and development. This includes kin carers who might be an aunt, uncle, grandparent, adult brother or sister, or a relative who has been involved in the care of a child.

Kin carers

Often when family members become kin carers for grandchildren, nieces, nephews and other children, they have no legal authority to authorise medical procedures, enrol children in school or have any say over whether the child they are raising remains with them or is returned to live with their parents.

A parenting order can be made giving parental responsibility to a kin carer. This provides certainty about where the child lives and what time is spent with their parents. It also allows for a recovery order to be made if the child is removed abruptly from their settled living arrangements and placed at risk, for example being taken by parents who are overwhelmed by drug or alcohol addiction, mental health conditions or family violence.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their culture

Family law in Australia requires the Court to make decisions based on the best interests of the child/ren. The law also recognises the importance of children keeping a connection with their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture after family breakdown and separation.

The Court looks at many things when deciding what is best for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, such as:

  • lifestyle, culture and traditions of the children and the parents
  • the rights of the child to enjoy his or her culture, including the right to enjoy that culture with other people who share that culture
  • any kinship relationships that may impact on a child, and
  • the child-rearing practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.

Contact us

If you want to know more about the Court or get copies of our publications, visit:

WEBSITE www.federalcircuitcourt.gov.au

LiveChat on the website

CALL 1300 352 000

8.30am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday

Indigenous legal aid services

Australian Capital Territory/New South Wales

Aboriginal Legal Service: 1800 733 233 or (02) 8836 3444

Victoria

Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service: 1800 064 865

Queensland

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service: 1800 012 255

Western Australia

Aboriginal Legal Service: 1800 019 900

South Australia

Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement: 1800 643 222

Tasmania

Tasmanian Aboriginal Community Legal Service
Hobart (03) 6281 3456
Launceston (03) 6700 0389

Far Northern Territory

North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency: 1800 898 251

Southern Northern Territory

Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service: 1800 636 079

Help in your local area

ACT & SOUTHERN NSW Court Registries

  • Canberra, Sydney, Parramatta and Wollongong
  • Circuit Court – Albury, Dubbo, Orange and Wagga Wagga

National Enquiry Centre (NEC): 1300 352 000

Health Services

  • Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service (ACT): (02) 6284 6222
  • Griffith Aboriginal Medical Service: (02) 6962 0000
  • Riverina Medical and Dental Aboriginal Corporation: (02) 6923 5200
  • Albury Wodonga Aboriginal Health Service: (02) 6040 1200
  • RivMed Riverina Medical & Dental Aboriginal Corporation: (02) 6923 5200

Legal Services (ACT & SOUTHERN NSW)

  • Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) Ltd: 1800 733 233 or (02) 8836 3444
  • Legal Aid ACT: 1300 654 314
  • Legal Aid NSW: 1800 551 589
  • Women’s Legal Centre: 02 6257 4499 and 1800 634 669
  • Wirringa Baiya: Aboriginal Women’s Legal Centre: 1800 686 587 (NSW only)

New South Wales Court Registries

  • Newcastle, Parramatta, Sydney and Wollongong
  • Circuit Court – Albury Armidale, Broken Hill, Coffs Harbour, Dubbo, Lismore, Orange, Tamworth, Wagga Wagga and Wauchope

National Enquiry Centre (NEC): 1300 352 000

Health Services

  • Aboriginal Medical Service (Redfern): (02) 9319 5823
  • South Coast Medical Service Aboriginal Corporation (Nowra): 1800 215 099
  • Katungal Medical Centre (Narooma/Bega): 1800 804 201
  • Illawarra Aboriginal Medical Centre (Wollongong): (02) 4229 9495
  • Awabakal Newcastle Aboriginal Co-operative Limited (Newcastle): 1800 292 225
  • Yerin Aboriginal Health Services Incorporated (Wyong): (02) 4351 1040
  • Jullums – Lismore Aboriginal Medical Service (Lismore): (02) 6621 4366

Legal Services (Eastern NSW)

  • Legal Aid NSW: 1800 551 589
  • Law Access NSW: 1300 888 529
  • Indigenous Women’s Legal Contact Line: (02) 8745 6977 and 1800 639 784
  • Wirringa Baiya – Aboriginal Women’s Legal Centre: 1800 686 587 (NSW only) 

New South Wales Court Registries

  • Newcastle, Parramatta, Sydney and Wollongong
  • Circuit Court – Albury, Armidale, Broken Hill, Coffs Harbour, Dubbo, Lismore, Orange, Tamworth, Wagga Wagga and Wauchope

National Enquiry Centre (NEC): 1300 352 000

Health Services

  • Maari Ma Health Aboriginal Corporation Broken Hill: (08) 8082 9777
  • Bathurst Hospital Building Strong Foundations Service (Waalan Baaalas): (02) 6330 5677
  • Bourke Aboriginal Medical Service: (02) 6870 3088
  • Bila Muuji Aboriginal Health Service: (Balranald, Bourke, Brewarrina,
  • Coonamble, Dareton, Dubbo, Forbes, Maari Ma, Orana Haven, Orange, Walgett, Wellington): 1800 999 444

Legal Services (Western NSW)

  • Indigenous Women’s Legal Contact Line: (02) 8745 6977 and 1800 639 784
  • Legal Aid NSW: 1800 551 589
  • Law Access NSW: 1300 888 529
  • Western NSW Community Legal Centre Inc: (02) 6884 9422
  • Wirringa Baiya – Aboriginal Women’s Legal Centre: 1800 686 587 (NSW only)

Queensland Family Law Registries

  • Brisbane and Rockhampton
  • Circuit Court – Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Ipswich, Mackay, Maroochydore, Southport and Toowoomba

National Enquiry Centre (NEC): 1300 352 000

Health & Family Support Services

  • Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Community Health Services – Annerley: (07) 3240 8900
  • Kummara Family Care Centre – West End: (07) 3846 5654
  • Ganyjuu Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation for Family Support
  • Services Logan Central: (07) 3808 9957

Legal Services

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service: 1800 012 255
  • Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service: 1800 887 700
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Legal & Advocacy Service: 1800 442 450
  • Legal Aid Queensland – Indigenous Information Line: 1300 650 143
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Legal Service NQ Inc: 1800 082 600

Tasmania Family Law Registries

  • Hobart and Launceston
  • Circuit Court – Burnie

National Enquiry Centre (NEC): 1300 352 000

Health Services

  • Aboriginal Health Service –
    Hobart: (03) 6234 0777
    Launceston: (03) 6332 3800
    Burnie: (03) 6431 3289
  • Aboriginal Family Support and Care: (03) 6234 0700

Legal Services

  • Tasmanian Aboriginal Community Legal Service
    Hobart: 1800 064 865
    Launceston: (03) 6700 0389
  • Launceston Community Legal Centre Inc: 1800 066 019
  • Women’s Legal Service Hobart: 1800 682 468

Victorian Family Law Registries

  • Melbourne and Dandenong
  • Circuit Court – Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Mildura, Morwell, Shepparton and Warrnambool

National Enquiry Centre (NEC): 1300 352 000

Health Services

  • Victorian Aboriginal Health Service –
    Fitzroy: (03) 9419 3000
    Preston: (03) 403 3300
    Thornbury: (03) 8459 3800
  • Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place – Croydon: (03) 9725 2166
  • Goulburn Valley Health – Shepparton: (03) 5832 2322

Legal Services

  • Victorian Aboriginal Legal Services (VALS): 1800 064 865
  • Victoria Legal Aid: 1300 792 387
  • Federation of Community Legal Centres: (03) 9652 1500
  • Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service: 1800 105 303
  • Women’s Legal Service Victoria: (03) 8622 0600