Federal Circuit Court of Australia – Urgent Applications – How Quickly Can I Get to Court

16/07/2018

The Federal Circuit Court of Australia hears disputes between parties in family law matters.  Proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia are commenced by the filing of an Initiating Application.  Some cases are urgent.  Some cases that were not urgent when they were started can become urgent.   If an urgent application arises after a case has commenced then an Application in a Case can be filed with the Court (the existing proceedings). 

What Applications are Urgent?

Urgent applications include Parenting matters such as Orders for return of a child, urgent arrangements for holidays or some other parenting issues that need to be resolved without delay such as medical treatment.  Urgent Applications can also include Injunctive Applications for example, to restrain a party from spending money or selling assets or leaving the country with a child/ren.

If the matter is urgent the Court will list the matter for urgent hearing but the onus to show urgency is on the person seeking to obtain the urgent assistance of the Court.

How will the Court Proceed with an Urgent Application? 

There are strict requirements applying to such urgent Interim Applications.  This Practice Direction provides that unless leave is granted by the Judge when the matter has been allocated, the Affidavit material in support of the Application must:

1.        Not exceed 10 pages in length for each Affidavit – the Affidavit must set out the relevant facts to be relied upon at an Interim Hearing.

2.        The Affidavit must contain no more than 5 annexures.

How Does an Interim Hearing Work? 

The Judge will on the return date decide whether or not there could be or should be an Interim Hearing on that date.  The Interim Hearing is conducted on the papers and there is generally no cross examination of witnesses.  Failure to comply with the Rules in the Practice Direction may result in the Judge declining to hear the case.

If the Respondent to the Application seeks orders over and above the orders sought by the Applicant, the Respondent must also comply with the same rules.

In the event that the parties do not comply the Judge may not hear the Interim Application.

If you are a party to family law proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and are confronted with a change or unforseen circumstances which could adversely impact your position or you have concerns regarding parenting issues please contact Richard Watson Senior Family Law Solicitor or his assistant Shereen Da Gloria to discuss your concerns and the possible need for an urgent Application to the Federal Circuit Court of Australia.

This is only a preliminary view and is not to be taken as legal advice without first contacting Watson & Watson Solicitors on 02 9221 6011.

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