The Courts – An Update – 3 April 2020

As acknowledged by the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, the courts will prioritise urgent parenting matters. This may mean that any non-urgent property only matters are adjourned for an appropriate period of time, until the Court has the capacity to deal with them. Property matters may also be referred by Judges to mediation.

As per the face-to-face protocol, all matters that proceed before the Court will be conducted by telephone and video conferencing software for trials, such as Microsoft Teams.


Joint Practice Direction – Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia. 

On 31 March 2020, a new Practice Direction was announced for family law matters in the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia (JPD 2 of 2020). This provides for the following:

  • All subpoena viewing at the registry is to be done by appointment only. Consideration will be given where matters are critically urgent.
  • Documents including affidavits, financial statements and consent orders required to be signed under the Family Law Rules 2004 or the Federal Circuit Court Rules 2001 may be signed electronically by the deponent and/or the lawyer on the record for that party. The deponent is the person who is swearing/affirming the document. This is done by having the person typing their name in the signature block. The Court will accept affidavits and financial statement that have been signed without a qualified witness subject to the deponent being made available by phone or videoconference to swear/affirm the document before the court at a subsequent court event.

On 27 March 2020, the Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia gave a radio interview on Triple M. You can listen to what was discussed here:

As the Chief Justice reiterates, ‘You are not alone’.

View the Joint Practice Direction Here