Attorney-General Christian Porter today announced that the Family Court of Australia will be merged with the Federal Circuit Court of Australia establishing a new single Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCA) from 1 January 2019, ahead of the release of the Australian Law reform Commission’s report into the family law system which is not due for release until March 2019.
The FCFCA will provide for a single federal entry point for all family law matters in Australia, with high risk and urgent cases being afforded priority. The new FCFCA Court will be split into two divisions. Division 1 will be made up of existing judges of Family Court of Australia and deal solely with family law matters. Division 2 will be made up of existing Judges of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and deal with family law and general federal law matters.
The creation of the new Court will also result in changes to the appeals framework for Family Law matters. A new appeals division will be created in the Federal Court which will deal specifically with all family law appeals from the new court as well as appeals from the Family Court of Western Australia.
The creation of the FCFCA will have no effect on the jurisdictional operation of the High Court of Australia, the Family Court of Western Australia, or other State and Territory courts that deal with family law cases.
Ms Caroline Counsel appeared on ABC Melbourne Breakfast Radio this morning to discuss the merger of the Federal Circuit and Family Court.
By Harry Higgs
(Note Ms Counsel appears at 1:38:20 of the podcast)