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Commencement of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia

Media Release

The Morrison Government welcomes the commencement of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFC).

The Government moved to create this new structure to address the confusion, costs and delays that Australian families experienced under the previous two-court structure for federal family law matters.

The FCFC provides a single point of entry to the family courts, with a consistent set of rules, processes and procedures, which will make the system simpler and less confusing. The FCFC also provides for an effective case management approach in family law to support a simpler, faster and cheaper system, while maintaining a focus on the safety of everyone affected.

Family law appeals will now be managed more efficiently. All judges of the FCFC (Division 1), will be able to hear appeals. This will ensure more appeal matters are finalised quicker.

Appointment criteria for family law judges have also been strengthened. Judges hearing family law matters in either Division need to satisfy additional appointment criteria to ensure they are suitable to deal with family law matters, including family violence. This is important to ensure that judicial appointees are suited to deal with the unfortunate reality that many matters that come before the family law courts involve family violence.

The Attorney-General, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash said today was an important moment in the Australian judicial system’s history.

“The Morrison Government is committed to reducing unnecessary costs and delays in the federal family courts.

“That is why we progressed legislation through Parliament to bring together the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court under a unified administrative structure, the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia.

“I congratulate Chief Justice Alstergren, judges of the family courts and court staff, for their significant achievement in preparing for the commencement of the new structure.

“I am pleased that the Court is embracing innovation and technology. In this regard the Court’s new website is an important source of information to help court users easily navigate these important changes.

“As a result of these changes, more cases will be finalised each year, making a real difference to everyday Australians at a difficult time in their lives.

Visit the new court website.