On 28 January 2020 a new practice Direction was issued by the Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia  / Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia setting out 10 Core Principles to underpin Family Law matters in those Courts. These are in summary:

 

  1. The prioritisation of the safety of children, vulnerable parties and litigants in managing risk and family violence;
  2. The overarching purpose to ensure the just, safe, efficient and timely resolution of matters at a cost to the parties that is reasonable and proportionate in all the circumstances of the case;
  3.  Efficient and effective use of resources;
  4. An effective approach to case management of all cases including the use of internal and external Alternative Dispute Resolution;
  5. An encouragement of appropriate dispute resolution procedures;
  6. Costs consequences for failure to comply with orders;
  7. A pragmatic approach to litigation costs and disclosure of costs;
  8. Ensuring issues in dispute are identified and narrowed to those issues genuinely in dispute;
  9. Effective preparation for hearings;
  10. Efficient and timely disposition of Cases.

 

While these issues have always been a feature of litigation in the Family Law jurisdiction, the Family Law Courts appear to be taking a direct approach to com negative views about the delays and inconsistencies some face as a Family Law litigant.