The Hon. Christian Porter MP, Attorney-General announced in May that the Government was finalising legislation to establish a new, single Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCA) to be established from 1 January 2019.
According to the Attorney-General, “the overwhelming driver behind this important structural reform is to help families in dispute as a result of relationship breakdown resolve their matters as quickly, cost-efficiently and efficiently as possible.”
The Attorney-General released the Government-commissioned 2018 PwC Report entitled 'Review of efficiency of the operation of the federal courts' on 17 August 2018.
Read the PwC Report.
Read full media release given by the Attorney-General on 17 August.
On 23 August 2018, the legislation to merge the Federal Circuit Court and the Family Court was introduced into Parliament.
The Attorney-General said the legislation would bring together the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia into one structure to be known as the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFC), which will operate from 1 January 2019.The FCFC will comprise two divisions. Division 1 will be a continuation of the Family Court, whilst Division 2 will be a continuation of the Federal Circuit Court.
A new Family Law Appeal Division will be established in the Federal Court of Australia to hear all appeals in family law matters from the FCFC and appeals in federal family law matters from the Family Court of Western Australia.
From 1 January 2019, all new family law matters will be filed in the new FCFC. Each matter will be directed to the most appropriate Judge in the most appropriate Division by case management teams led by judges. Appeals in family law matters from FCFC (Division 2) would ordinarily be heard by a single Judge of the Family Law Appeal Division.
Read full media release given by the Attorney-General on 23 August.
On 23 August 2018, the Senate referred the provisions of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2018, Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Bill 2018 to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 15 April 2019.
The committee has resolved that it will table its report by 26 November 2018.
The deadline for submissions to the inquiry is 23 November 2018.
To upload submissions or for more information, visit the Parliament website.