Practice Direction: No.2 of 2012

(Parenting Proceedings - Federal Circuit Court - South Australia)

Introduction

In light of recent family violence amendments to the Family Law Act 1975by way of the Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Act 2011, the Federal Circuit Court is seeking to better facilitate the early identification of risk in parenting matters when allegations are raised.

The prevalence of allegations of risk in proceedings is of particular significance for the Federal Circuit Court as most parenting applications are commenced in the Court. 

The Court currently applies the rules prescribed by the Family Court in Part 2.3 of the Family Law Rules 2004 and the accompanying Form 4 notification.

The Court is seeking to adopt a new form of Notice of Risk to replace the currently prescribed Form 4 to better identify risks in parenting proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court.

Before considering any formal rule amendment, the attached Notice of Risk is to be piloted in parenting proceedings filed in the Court in South Australia only as from 4 February 2013.

It is proposed that following feedback from the South Australian pilot the Court will thereafter consider possible implementation nationally.

The attached Notice of Risk will be required to be filed with every Application or Response in proceedings seeking parenting orders in Federal Circuit Court proceedings in South Australia filed on or after 4 February 2013.

In addition to addressing risks which fall within the ambit of section 67Z and section 67ZBA, the Notice of Risk also addresses the general duty of the Court as required by section 69ZQ and aims to facilitate the identification of other risks which do not fall within the ambit of the notification provisions but which may be of relevance to the Court.

In drafting the proposed Notice of Risk the following factors have been considered:

  • The current Form 4 is not complied with in all instances where allegations are made. By requiring all parties to parenting applications to complete a Notice of Risk in all proceedings, there is likely to be a greater compliance with the legislative requirements.
  • The utility of a form which seeks to  identify a wider range of risks will aid the effective early intervention case management pathway of the Federal Circuit Court
  • The reference to forms by numbers is not helpful to litigants and the title should be more reflective of the purpose of the form.

The instructions attached to the form are intended to assist with completion. The relevant statutory provisions have been set out in full and the terminology picked up in the body of the form. It is hoped that the format is one which is easier to complete for litigants and practitioners and will aid their compliance with the statutory requirements.

 

J PASCOE
Chief Judge