Aston Legal Group

Parenting and Property Matters

Harmonisation of the Courts

The complex overlap between the jurisdiction and administration of the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court has been heavily criticised as being “confusing, inefficient and [for] causing unacceptable delays’’. Traditionally, the two-court system was been constructed in order to enable better specialisation, wherein the more complex property and childrens’ matters are adjudicated in the Family Court of Australia, and the less complex matters are adjudicated in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. However, the management of this system has been flawed, resulting in an archaic administration that is confusing for litigants to navigate, especially when self-represented.

What changes does the future hold?

Seemingly, legislative reform pertaining to high-level structural changes have not been accepted by consensus, on the basis of a loss of Court specialisation. As a result, the pervading common voice cries for a move towards a “single point of entry, harmonisation of rules and forms, and the unification of procedures” from an internal administrative perspective.

In this regard, the Harmonisation Project commenced in February 2019, under which judges and registrars provide input into the construction of a common set of rules, processes and case management practices for family law applications in both the Family Court of Australia and the Family Court of Australia. Ultimately, the goal is to engender a more seamless and timely avenue for adjudication. We anticipate witnessing the fruits of this project as it systematically implemented over the next years.

What is the effect on family law litigation?

As the Courts gravitate away from the two-court system and towards a more streamlined adjudicative process, the landscape of family law and the administration of the Court process will become much easier to navigate. For self-represented litigants, this will especially ensure better comprehension when dealing with the administration of their case. For represented litigants and legal practitioners more broadly, this will mean an increased ease and comfortability as cases are brought to their conclusion.

The Next Step

If you would like to advice about parenting or property matters, contact us on 8391 8411 to book a free 30-minute consultation with us to discuss what steps you should take next.

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