The Federal Court Structure in Australia changed today, with the introduction of a third Federal Court known as the “Federal Circuit Court and Family Court of Australia” (or FCFCOA).

In Tasmania the FCFCOA comprises the following judicial resources:

  • Justice McGuire
  • Judge Taglieri
  • Judge Turnbull
  • Senior Judicial Registrar Fitzgerald
  • Judicial Registrar Weidmann
  • Judicial Registrar Gelston

Lawyers undertaking work in the FCFCOA should be aware that the FCFCOA Rules apply to all proceedings filed before and after the commencement of the FCFCOA, subject to any transitional arrangements that may apply.

In addition to those rules, are various practice directions including the Central Practice Direction (CPD) for Family Law, the CPD for General Federal Law and the CPD for Migration proceedings. There are an additional 14 Practice Directions that apply to Family Law proceedings.

Tasmanian State Budget

On 26 August the Tasmanian budget for 2021/2022 was revealed and can be viewed here, along with the Budget Speech, papers and Appropriation Bill.

Of note are the following announcements:

  • Funding for an additional Magistrate, who will be located in the Hobart registry of the Court, but will provide services to each registry throughout the State.
  • Ongoing funding for the three existing Supreme Court acting Judges. That funding continues through to the end of the 2022/23 year.
  • The allocation of a further $25 million for the Burnie Court redevelopment. This takes the total allocated funding to $40 million.
  • Funding and resourcing to see correctional officers provide security services to State Courts.
  • $2.2 million dollars for the legal assistance sector. This includes funding for the Duty Lawyer Scheme and the Law Library Service. Ordinarily the source of funding for these projects, and various entities operating within the legal assistance sector would come from the excess produced by the Solicitors Guarantee. However, record low interest rates means no excess is likely to be produced into the foreseeable future. This funding is therefore vital and a welcome announcement.
  • Additional funding to the DPP of $2 million.
  • Additional funding to Crown Law and the Crown Solicitors Office, a large proportion of which is allocated to capital works.

Proposed model definition of family violence

On 26 May 2021, the Law Council hosted the National Roundtable, Family Violence: Awareness, Education and Training (National Roundtable).

National Roundtable participants represented Law Council Constituent Bodies and Committees, the legal assistance sector (including Women’s Legal Centres), and family violence prevention and survivor support organisations.

A key issue discussed at the National Roundtable was the possibility of developing a consistent definition of family violence across Australia’s various jurisdictions.

I want to thank the chair of our Family Law Committee Mary Anne Ryan and members f her working group for preparing a submission in relation to the Proposed model definition of family violence that can be viewed here.