Family law matters are generally heard in either one of two Courts, the Federal Circuit Court of Australia (the FCC) or the Family Court of Australia (the FCA).
Orders made by either of those Courts are capable of being reviewed. This process is called an appeal.
Appeals are heard in a superior Court called the Full Court of the Family Court of Australia (the FCFCA). If you are appealing orders from the FCC, the matter will be heard by a single judge of the FCFCA unless otherwise directed. If you are appealing orders from the FCA, the matter will be heard by three judges of the FCFCA.
Time lines are critical in the conduct of an appeal. If one aspect is missed or forgotten, it can be fatal to the outcome of the appeal. The “Appellant” is the person who is asking for the appeal, the “Respondent(s)” are those people who are responding to the appeal.
|Within 28 days of primary orders being made Appellant wishes to appeal||Appellant must file a court form called a Notice of Appeal, together with a copy of the orders you wish to appeal, together with the filing fee |
|Following filing of Notice of Appeal||The Chief Justice of the FCA determines whether or not the matter will be heard by a single judge or three judges |
|Within 14 days of filing Notice of Appeal||Notice of Appeal must be served on all parties |
|Within 14 days of being served Notice of Appeal||Respondent’s may file a cross-appeal, together with the filing fee |
|Within 28 days of filing Notice of Appeal||Appellant must file a draft appeal book index (this is an index of all documents the Appellant proposes to use for the purpose of the appeal from the substantive proceedings). NOTE: if this does not happen, the appeal is deemed abandoned and does not proceed beyond this point |
|Following filing of draft appeal book index||The appeal is listed for a procedural hearing and the parties will be notified of the date. This will take place before either a Registrar or a Judge |
|The procedural hearing||Orders will be made for the conduct of the appeal, timeline for filing any further documents, settling the draft appeal book index with further directions for preparation and service of the appeal books (which is a consolidated and paginated book which contains all documents for the appeal), together with a date usually being provided for when the appeal will be heard |
|File the Appeal books||NOTE: if this does not happen, the appeal is deemed abandoned and does not proceed beyond this point |
|The appeal hearing||To take place on the date advised to the parties|
This is the typical pathway which denotes the conduct of an appeal. If one aspect is not complied with, there are pathways available to you and you should speak with an expert family lawyer who can advise which of those is appropriate for your circumstances.
Time is of the essence in an appeal, it is essential to be organised and diligent in the conduct of your matter in this jurisdiction.