The Changes to the Family Law System

The Changes to the Family Law System

In this video, Accredited Family Law Specialist Bruce Provan keeps us in the loop on the changes to the family law system.


My name is Bruce Provan, I’m the Managing Director of Page Provan, Family and Fertility Lawyers for a specialist family and fertility firm in Brisbane.

I want to talk to you today about the recent merger of the Family court and the Federal Circuit Court to become the Federal Circuit and Family court of Australia. That merger took place on the first of September, and it’s still very fresh, associated with that merger, there are a series of new court rules, practice directions, as well as a number of new forms that as lawyers, we are trying to get our head around.

There are some key differences now, one of the key differences is the introduction of pre action procedures for all cases that start in court. The court now requires people to attempt to resolve the matter through alternate dispute resolution or through negotiation prior to commencing proceedings.

Even once proceedings have commenced, there is a renewed emphasis by the court, there was always an emphasis, but this is a renewed and more detailed emphasis by the court in trying to resolve matters through alternate dispute resolution. So we expect to see more matters that are referred off to mediation where that hasn’t happened already.

Already, there’s a number of matters that are going to arbitration, property matters only that go through arbitration, and we expect that will continue. It will be interesting to see how these new developments work out. The chief justice has said the aim is to have ninety percent of matters dealt with through the court in 12 months of filing.

One of the other key changes is that a lot of matters will now be dealt within the early stages by registrars rather than judges, and it appears that matters will only go before a judge when it gets to the later stage of proceedings and heads towards the trial, right at that will be dealt with predominantly by registrars, so many of these changes go back to the situation that existed prior to the Federal Circuit Court being established in 2001, so for experienced practitioners, we’re not surprised to see many of these changes, and in due course, I think these changes will be a good thing.

Certainly, the fact that you’ve now got the one court for all family law matters is an improvement, so there’s one registry rather than having two separate courts and matters going back and forth between the two courts.

So if you have a family law matter or contemplating or have recently separated, please consult with us because we’re across these changes, and as specialist family lawyers, we’re the best people to help you deal with it.

Bruce Provan from Page Provan, Family and Fertility Lawyers.

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Family Law Section Law Council of Australia Award
Member of Queensland law society
Family law Practitioners Association
International Academy of Family Lawyers - IAFL
Mediator Standards Board