With the recent developments surrounding COVID-19, the Federal Circuit Court and Family Court of Australia (“the Courts”) are implementing new safety measures and processes.
Of importance for you to know is that the Courts have implemented the following new measures:
- Remote court appearances;
- COVID-19 court list for urgent matters.
What does appearing remotely mean for you?
Both Courts have implemented the following processes for remote appearances:
- By way of telephone (i.e. the Court phones you);
- By way of “global conference meet” (i.e. your lawyer phones into the Court on a conference line)
- By way of “Microsoft Teams” (for trials only).
This means, if your matter is listed for anything other than for trial, your lawyer is to appear by telephone. The expectation is that you will also be available by telephone for the Court appearance, so that your lawyer can take prompt instructions from you if need be.
If your matter is listed for trial, it will occur by way of Microsoft Team’s software. This is a video conference and communication platform. Presently, the direction from the Court is that all trials are to go ahead, without delay. It is likely that there will be a required rehearsal for the lawyers and the Judge prior to the trial (to ensure the trial will run smoothly).
On the day of the trial, you will be required to be in attendance by way of the Microsoft Teams platform.
COVID-19 LIST- URGENT FAMILY LAW MATTERS
As of 28 April 2020, the Courts have commenced the operation of a new court list, called the “COVID-19 list”. This list was created to deal with urgent matters that require a Court application to be filed as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
To be listed on the COVID-19 list, your matter must meet certain criteria. Examples of applications that may qualify for the list are:
- One parent is withholding the child/ren and is refusing time with the other parent;
- The arrangements involve supervised time, and the contact centre is closed or the supervisor is unable to perform their role;
- Where one parent lives in a different state due to the border restrictions;
- Increase of risk of family violence resulting from the restrictions enforced in response to COVID-19.
It is important that where appropriate, parties negotiate in a reasonable manner and make a genuine attempt to reach agreement before an application to the court is made.
If you have an urgent matter that results from the COVID-19 pandemic, please phone one of our family lawyers on 6222 9444 to discuss further.
What should you do?
The best thing you can do if you have a court matter, is to contact your family lawyer at Butler McIntyre & Butler to discuss how the recent COVID-19 changes affect your matter.
If you have a new matter and require legal advice on parenting issues, any property matter arising from separation, divorce or child support, please telephone Butler McIntyre & Butler on 6222 9444 and request an appointment with a family lawyer. Presently, our staff are working remotely, but our family lawyers are readily available for telephone appointments.
If you require legal aid, a family lawyer from our firm will be able to assist you in making an application to the Legal Aid Commission.