MERGER OF THE FEDERAL CIRCUIT COURT AND FAMILY COURT OF AUSTRALIA
On 1 September 2021, the Federal Circuit Court and Family Court amalgamated into the Federal Circuit Family Court of Australia. This marked a significant occasion in the history of Australia’s federal court system and has come after a long campaign to change the family law system.
The decision to merge the court has not been without controversy. In May 2018, the Morrison government’s idea of creating a ‘super court’ was heavily criticised by the Law Council of Australia and failed to gain traction. However, in February 2021 the Federal Circuit Court and Family Court of Australia Bill 2019 was passed into law after it was agreed by the Australian Federal Government and majority of stakeholders that the previous system was not serving families as it should.
The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia comes after criticism that the previous model of the Federal Circuit Court and Family Court was confusing and complicated. Many litigants held the perception that the two courts were arbitrary and costly.
There is increased focus on dispute resolution as an alternative for families to resolve their matters where it is suitable.
The unification of the Federal Circuit Court and Family Court and its Rules and practice directions seeks to ‘improve user experience’ and reduce wait times and delay. It is expected that the amalgamation of the two courts will resolve more than 90 per cent of family matters within 12 months, which will alleviate the time, cost and the emotional toll associated with family law proceedings and litigation.
The merger also comes with enhanced case management through the appointment of senior judicial registrars, judicial registrars and deputy registrars who will undertake key roles in the operation of the Federal Circuit Family Court of Australia.
The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia will ensure that accessing justice in an effective and efficient manner will be reality for the vast majority.
Soden Legal can assist parties who require mediation or legal representation in family law matters. Contact us today to make an enquiry.