Structural reform of the federal courts

The Government has today announced its proposal for the restructure of the federal courts.

The Government proposes to establish a new “Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia” (FCFCA). The new Court will be established through the amalgamation of the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. A new Family Law Appeal Division of the Federal Court of Australia will also be created to hear appeals in family law matters from the FCFCA and the Family Court of Western Australia. Subject to the passage of legislation, it is proposed that the FCFCA and the Family Law Appeal Division will commence operation on 1 January 2019.

There will be a single point of entry for federal family law matters, through the FCFCA. There will also be one Chief Justice supported by one Deputy Chief Justice of the FCFCA. The FCFCA will be divided into two divisions, with Division 1 comprising the existing judges of the Family Court, and Division 2 comprising the existing judges of the Federal Circuit Court. The Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice will each hold a dual commission to both Divisions 1 and 2 of the FCFCA. The Appeal Division of the Family Court will not be retained.

The Family Law Section will seek clarification from the Attorney General’s department, the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit of Australia of the finer details of the proposals announced today, and will consider the proposed legislation, once it is released. We will provide members with further updates over the coming weeks and months.

Attached are two fact sheets issued by the Attorney-General’s Department – Fact Sheet 1 provides an overview of reforms, and Fact Sheet 2 provides facts and figures to support the changes.

Fact sheet 1
Overview of reforms
Read fact sheet 1

Fact sheet 2
Facts and figures
Read fact sheet 2

The original article was featured in the Law Council of Australia’s Newsletter – 30 May 2018.


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