COVID-19 continues to ravage our legal system.
The Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court have confirmed that they will continue to operate remotely, but soon final hearings will be conducted in person again, and the building layouts will return to normal.
Arbitrations are already often face-to-face, at the discretion of the arbitrator and the parties.
The court issued an updated practice direction on 24 June 2020, which confirmed that practitioners and parties will continue to use the courts electronically and also limited the need for people to physically attend the court. In summary, the practice direction is as follows:
- Divorce lists: All divorces will continue to be dealt with virtually, with no appearance required for joint and sole applications where there are no children under the age of 18 years.
- Directions Hearing before a Registrar in the Family Court will be dealt with by phone or video and contested matters will be required to file written submissions as directed by the Registrar.
- Discrete property lists, PPP500 and contraventions will continue to occur by phone or video.
- Conferences and Alternate Dispute Resolution are to be conducted through Microsoft Teams, with the parties being required to serve the usual documents, including proposed orders, prior to the Conciliation Conference.
- Appearances before the Senior Registrar in the Family Court will occur also through video or telephone, with the parties needing to provide a short case outline and minute of proposed orders prior to the listing. If a party wishes to attend court personally, they must email chambers of the Senior Registrar and provide a brief outline detailing why the matter is urgent and requires the parties to personally attend court.
- Child Dispute Services: Interviews with adult parties are to be conducted via phone or videoconferencing, with Child Dispute Services to consider the circumstances of each matter where a child will need to be interviewed and assess the appropriateness of conducting such interviews electronically. In circumstances where an electronic interview is not appropriate, then an interview in-person will be conducted at the registry.
Prior to any court listing, the court will email practitioners with details of the upcoming listing and how to proceed.
Parties and practitioners will be required to provide their direct conttact details to the Registrar by 4:00pm, two business days prior to the listing.
Martin Bullock Lawyers accepts referrals in all agency matters in Parramatta – Family Court, Federal Circuit Court, District Court, Local Court and Children’s Court.
Give us a call on 02 9687 9322.
We look forward to assisting you in the future.