Bob Dylan’s classic anthem may not have inspired the Federal Government’s announcement in May 2018 that sweeping changes to Australia’s Family Court system will come into effect in 2019, but there is no doubt that for better or for worse, The Times They are A Changin’.
The key points:
- The Family Court of Australia (FCA) and The Federal Circuit Court (FCC) will be combined into a single new court known as the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCA).
- By combining and streamlining the Court the Government hopes to reduce current delays in the family court system which means cases take about 18 months on average to reach trial.
- In 2017, the first major review of the family law system since it was established in the 1970’s was announced by former Attorney General George Brandis. The Australian Law Reform Commission is due to report back to the Government in early 2019, and it is anticipated that further sweeping changes to the family law system and legislation will follow.
The following is from the Attorney-General Department’s website:
“On 30 May 2018, the Attorney-General announced the government’s intention to bring forward legislation for structural changes to the federal courts (excluding the High Court of Australia).
Under the legislation, a new Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCA) will be established from 1 January 2019 through the amalgamation of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and the Family Court of Australia.
A new Family Law Appeal Division in the Federal Court of Australia will also be established to hear all appeals in family law matters from the FCFCA (and some appeals from the Family Court of Western Australia).
The reforms will help Australian families resolve their disputes faster by improving the efficiency of the family law system, reducing the backlog of matters before the family law courts, and driving faster, cheaper and more consistent dispute resolution.
This announcement does not have any immediate effect on matters currently before the courts. Transitional arrangements will be put in place for those matters that are before the courts at the time of the commencement of the reforms to minimise any delay or inconvenience to parties.”
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The eDivorce team
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