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History of Events

This section provides a brief chronology of events concerning the development of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia.

Federal Magistrates Court is renamed the Federal Circuit Court - 12 April 2013

Following commencement of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia Legislation Amendment Act 2012 on 12 April 2013, the Federal Magistrates Court was renamed the Federal Circuit Court of Australia (Federal Circuit Court) and the titles of its judicial officers changed from Chief Federal Magistrate and Federal Magistrate to Chief Judge and Judge respectively.

The jurisdiction, status and arrangements under which the Court operates did not change.

Consequential amendments were made to other Acts and Regulations to implement the name change by way of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia (Consequential Amendments) Act 2013 and the the Federal Circuit Court of Australia (Consequential Amendments) Regulation 2013 (No 1).

The following is a list of renamed Acts and regulatory provisions:

Previous

Currently

Federal Magistrates Act 1999

Federal Circuit Court of Australia Act 1999

Federal Magistrates Court Rules 2001

Federal Circuit Court Rules 2001

Federal Magistrates Court (Bankruptcy) Rules 2006

Federal Circuit Court (Bankruptcy) Rules 2006

Fee Regulations

 

Federal Court and Federal Magistrates Court Regulation 2012

Federal Court and Federal Circuit Court Regulation 2012

Family Law (Fees) Regulation 2012

No change

Federal Magistrates Court - Biennial and other fees - 1 July 2010

Amendments have been made to the Federal Magistrates Regulations 2000 by the Federal Magistrates Amendment Regulations 2010 (No 1) : http://www.comlaw.gov.au.

These amendments include biennial fee increases from 1 July 2010.

In addition, the government announced in the Budget certain addition fee increases and new fee items. which are included in the amendments to also take effect from 1 July 2010.

Key aspects of the amendments

  • an additional hearing fee after the first day of hearing - the new hearing fee being equivalent to the setting down fee : Schedule 1 [item 10];
  • a specific fee item for a proceeding under the Bankruptcy Act 1966 : Schedule 1 [item 7];
  • a new item for a reduced fee for filing an application under the small claims procedure of the Fair Work Act 2009 :Schedule 1 [item 20].

In addition, the amount for certain applications under the Fair Work Act 2009 has increased to $60.60 : Schedule 1 [items 18 and 19]

The increases announced in the Budget also included a new flat fee of $100 (general federal law) and $60 (family law) to be introduced to replace certain applications previously eligible for fee waivers and exemptions which will commence on 1 September 2010.

Information on fees and a copy of the new Schedule of Fees will be available on the Court's website at: http://www.federalcircuitcourt.gov.au/html/fees.html.

30 June 2010

Ex parte applications for substituted service in Bankruptcy proceedings before Registrars

The New South Wales District Registry of the Federal Court and the Sydney Registry of the Federal Magistrates Court (General Federal Law) has commenced a trial of using eCourt/eCase Administration (eCourt) for the online hearing by Registrars of ex parte substituted service applications in bankruptcy matters.

Click here for more information about the trial

17 June 2010

Legal practitioners scale of costs

The High Court, Federal Court, Family Court and Federal Magistrates Court have established a Joint Costs Advisory Committee (JCAC) to inquire into, and to make recommendations on, any variations in the quantum of costs (including expenses and fees for witnesses) allowable to legal practitioners which should be contained in the scales of costs in the:

High Court Rules
Federal Court Rules
Family Law Rules
Federal Magistrates Court Rules

These scales are used to determine the amount payable where one party must pay the legal costs of another party to a proceeding.

Interested persons and organisations are invited to submit in writing any views on changes to the scales of costs they wish to have considered by JCAC. JCAC is also seeking comments on whether, and to what extent, the weightings of the FCAC formulaset out in its terms of reference (PDF) should be adjusted in light of the Australian Bureau of Statistics 8667.0 - Legal Services, Australia, 2007-08 survey released on 24 June 2009.

Submissions (which will be available to the public unless deemed confidential by JCAC) should be sent to:

Ms Angela Filippello
Joint Costs Advisory Committee
c/o Family Court of Australia
GPO Box 9991
BRISBANE  QLD  4001
jcac.submissions@familycourt.gov.au

The deadline for submissions is 30 June 2010.

Link to JCAC’s terms of reference (PDF)

View the Australian Bureau of Statistics 8667.0 - Legal Services, Australia, 2007-08 survey released on 24 June 2009

3 June 2010

Divorce order

In view of difficulties with the current divorce certificate being recognised by some foreign countries, the courts will be making changes to the form of document that is issued when a divorce order takes effect.

As from 13 February 2010, the current certificate of divorce will be replaced by a divorce order which records all the matters considered by the judicial officer in pronouncing the order. Pursuant to section 55A(1)(b) of the Family Law Act 1975 any children of the marriage will be named on the divorce order.

Once the divorce order takes effect,  a divorce order will issue and  will include a certification that the divorce has taken effect so that a separate divorce certificate will not be issued.

The new form of order will be issued for divorces pronounced after 13 February 2010.

Please call the Family Law Courts on 1300 352 000 for more information.

14 January 2009

The Federal Magistrates Court Amendment Rules 2009 (No 3) come into effect on 30 November 2009

The amendments introduce new rules in relation to subpoenas with provision for the release of documents produced for inspection and copying without the need for a listing before a judicial officer, where there is no objection.  The amendments are aimed at reducing the number of court appearances for production of subpoenaed documents when there is no dispute. The amendment rules can be found at www.comlaw.gov.au.

A new form of subpoena has been approved for use from 30 November 2009. The new approved form includes a new notice of objection. The old/current subpoena form will be removed from the website and should not be filed from 30 November 2009.

A new Notice of Request to Inspect  form has been approved. This form must be filed by the party who has requested the subpoena prior to any right to inspect being available.

The forms are available on the Court's website at
http://www.federalcircuitcourt.gov.au/forms/html/subpoena.html

More information about the new process and using the new forms is available on the Courts website under Brochures and Fact Sheets:

Information for a person requesting the issue of a subpoena
http://www.federalcircuitcourt.gov.au/pubs/html/br - issue_of_a_subpoena.html

Information for persons served with a subpoena or copy of a subpoena
http://www.federalcircuitcourt.gov.au/pubs/html/br - served_with_a_subpoena.html

26 November 2009

Registry Relocation for General Federal Law Matters in Sydney

From 12 October 2009 the Federal Magistrates Court Registry in Sydney (General Federal Law only) will move from Level 12 of John Maddison Tower (JMT) Building to:

Level 17 Law Courts Building
Queens Square Sydney

All filings and enquiries can be made on level 17 at the above address.

Courtroom use at JMT:

Federal Magistrates and Registrars will continue to conduct General Federal Law hearings at John Maddison Tower Building, 88 Goulburn St Sydney.

For any enquiries please call the Registry on 9230 8567 or refer to the fact sheets.

Court locations in Sydney (English version)

8 October 2009

eFiling of divorce applications now available

Applications for Divorce (and certain accompanying documents) filed with the Federal Magistrates Court can now be electronically filed through the Commonwealth Courts Portal (www.comcourts.gov.au).

Legal firms and individuals who want to eFile an Application for Divorce must first register with the portal. Instructions on how to register are available from www.comcourts.gov.au

For more information see the User Guide to eFiling Divorce Applications in Family Law available at http://www.familylawcourts.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/FLC/Home/Separation+and+Divorce

25 September 2009

Changes to how FMC court lists are published

From 1 September 2009, the Court Lists for the Federal Magistrates Court will be generated automatically from Casetrack onto the website by 4.30pm daily.

The new lists and email alerts will look and work the same as the FCoA's lists and there will only be a small change. Instead of seeing the details of the list in the body of the email, users will receive a link to the web page and they will need to click on this link to view the full list.

From 1 September 2009, you will have to access the lists from the website by subscribing to the email service.

Please subscribe to the E‐mail notification service on the FMC website at click here for registration form

The process for publishing lists for FMC circuits will remain unchanged.

25 August 2009

Federal Magistrates Court Amendment Rules 2009 (No 2) 

Federal Magistrates have agreed to amendments to the Federal Magistrates Court Rules 2001as  contained in the Federal Magistrates Court Amendment Rules 2009 (No 2). The Amendment Rules include specific rules for proceedings in the Fair Work Division of the Court. The rules will be available for download from www.comlaw.gov.au once they are registered with commencement 1 July 2009.

The Fair Work (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Act 2009 includes miscellaneous amendments to the Federal Magistrates Act 1999 to establish two Divisions within the Federal Magistrates Court, a Fair Work Division and a General Division. As from 1 July 2009 proceedings in the Court must be instituted, heard and determined in one of these Divisions.

The Fair Work Act 2009 confers a general jurisdiction in certain matters arising under that Actand requires that jurisdiction to be exercised in the Fair Work Division of the Court. The Fair Work (Transitional and Consequential Provisions) Act 2009 and the Fair Work (State Referral and Consequential and Other amendments) Act 2009 respectively provide similarly in respect of matters arising under the continuing operation of the pre-July 2009 Workplace Relations Act 1996 and the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act 2005.

The General Division will hear and determine all matters which are not required to be exercised in the Fair Work Division.

Summary of amendments

A new Chapter 7 - Fair Work Division is inserted and includes rules of practice and procedure for applications commenced in the Fair Work Division of the Court.

Form

All proceedings in the Fair Work Division are to commence by way of an approved form of application - Application Fair Work Division - http://www.fmc.gov.au/forms/html/workplace.html

In addition, the rules provide that certain application filed in the Fair Work Division must be accompanied by an approved claim form. Amendments made to paragraph 4.05(2) remove the requirement for an affidavit or pleading to accompany applications filed with an approved claim form All applications filed in the Division where a separate claim form is not required to accompany the application, must be supported by an affidavit or pleading in accordance with rule 4.05.

The rules also set out the need, in appropriate proceedings, for accompanying certificates as required under provisions of the Workplace Relations Act 1996, and the Fair Work Act 2009: see sub-paragraphs 45.04 (2)(b)(ii), 45.06(b)(ii), and 45.07(b)(ii). A table of the approved forms and the forms is available at http://www.fmc.gov.au/forms/index.html.

Small claims

There are new rules in relation to small claims.

The amendments provide that an applicant may request that an application for compensation be dealt with under this Division if the compensation is not more than $20,000 and the compensation is for an entitlement mentioned in subsection 548(1A) of the Fair Work Act 2009. When dealing with a small claim application the Court is not bound by the rules of evidence but may inform itself of any matter in any manner as it thinks fit.A party to a small claims application may not be represented by a lawyer without the leave of the Court.If a party elects to have the claim dealt with using the small claims procedure they will need to tick the relevant section on the Application Fair Work Division.

Fees

The Federal Magistrates Amendment Regulations 2009 (No 1) make amendments to the Federal Magistrates Regulations 2000 by including changes to item [12] and by the inclusion of a new item [13] to take effect from 1 July 2009
http://www.fmc.gov.au/html/fees_general.html

1 July 2009

Restructure of Federal Courts Announced

On 5 May 2009 the Attorney-General announced that the Rudd Government will restructure the federal courts system by merging the Federal Magistrates Court into the Family Court and Federal Court, consolidating all family law matters under the Family Court and consolidating all general federal law matters under the Federal Court.

The Family Court will be the single court dealing with all family law matters:

  • The restructured Family Court will have two tiers
  • Existing judges of the Family Court will operate in the first tier and undertake appeals and other complex work
  • Federal Magistrates will operate in the second tier and undertake the bulk of the family law work, including some work previously done by judges
  • Family law matters will generally be heard initially by a judge in the second tier of the Court, with complex matters being redirected to the first tier
  • Federal Magistrates integrated into the Family Court will be renamed ‘judges’.

These changes will take time and clients of the Court are unlikely to experience any disruption or significant change, particularly in this early stage.

More information

7 May 2009

Rule Changes

Amendments have been made to the Federal Magistrates Court Rules 2001. The amendments are contained in the Federal Magistrates Court Amendment Rules 2008.

Federal Magistrates Court Amendment Rules 2008
http://www.frli.gov.au/ComLaw/Legislation/LegislativeInstrument1.nsf/0/41CF0F76DBE0EE0CCA2574F000044EDF/$file/0711076A080917EV.pdf and

Explanatory Statement
http://www.frli.gov.au/ComLaw/Legislation/LegislativeInstrument1.nsf/0/A4C16FDF4029BD12CA2574F000044F10/$file/F2008L04169.pdf

These can be downloaded from www.comlaw.gov.au

E-filing of divorce applications now available

Applications for Divorce (and certain accompanying documents) can now be electronically filed through the Commonwealth Courts Portal (www.comcourts.gov.au). For more information see the User Guide to eFiling Divorce Applications in Family Law, available at www.familylawcourts.gov.au

New approved forms

Included amongst the amendments is an amendment to the rules in relation to withdrawal of lawyer (Subrules 9.03(1) and 9.03(3)). Currently the rules specify the requirements for written Notices of Withdrawal and Notices of Intention to Withdraw but do not require such notices be in accordance with an approved form. The amendments require the use of approved forms, namely Notice of intention of Withdrawal as Lawyer and Notice of Withdrawal as Lawyer, in circumstances where a lawyer is ceasing to act..

Use of the new forms will be required from 1 December 2008. Any such Notices filed on or after this date must be in accordance with the approved forms.

29 October 2008

Online Application for Divorce

There are a number of steps involved in applying for a divorce. To simplify this process, the Family Law Courts have developed eFiling of divorce applications through the Commonwealth Courts Portal.

This information describes the process for electronically submitting an application (eFiling) with the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia, pursuant to Rules 2.07A and 2.07B Federal Magistrates Court Rules 2001. It does not include the subsequent legal process involved in hearing and granting a divorce.

Registered litigants and representatives from legal firms can now log onto the Commonwealth Courts Portal (www.comcourts.gov.au) and complete the divorce application online.

Registered users will be prompted to enter their relevant details and upload a scanned copy of the marriage certificate or other documents (as required). They are then prompted for payment or to upload documentary evidence relating to an exemption of court fees. They then select from a list of available hearing dates and times.

Once the application is complete, a sealed copy of the application form will be available from the portal. The application form will include the file number and hearing date. Unlike an Application for Divorce filed by post or at a registry, the eFiled divorce application will not be required to be sworn, however it must be accompanied by the ‘Affidavit of Applicant/s’, sworn by the applicant/s. This document will be automatically generated by the portal as part of the printed application.

Prior to service of the divorce application, the Affidavit of Applicant/s needs to be sworn or affirmed before a lawyer, a Justice of the Peace or other authorised person, then uploaded as a scanned image onto the portal.

Once uploaded, a copy of this affidavit with a sealed Confirmation Notice will be available from the portal for downloading and printing.
The Application, Affidavit of Applicant/s, sealed Confirmation Notice and the brochure, Marriage Families and Separation, will need to be served upon the respondent in accordance with the Federal Magistrates Court Rules (see the Divorce Service Kit) .

More information

See the User Guide to eFiling Divorce Applications in Family Law available at www.familylawcourts.gov.au

Call the National Enquiry Centre on 1300 352 000 or email enquiries@familylawcourts.gov.au

6 April 2008

Harmonised Bankruptcy Rules Monitoring Committee

A new committee has been established to monitor the operation of the Federal Court (Bankruptcy) Rules 2005 and the Federal Magistrates Court (Bankruptcy) Rules 2006.

20 December 2007

Sydney Registry Change of Address

Important announcement for Federal Magistrates Court forlitigants & practitioners (Sydney)

FEDERAL MAGISTRATES COURT IS MOVING TO JOHN MADDISON TOWER Levels 5, 6 & 7, 88 Goulburn Street, SYDNEY

8 October 2007

Translated brochures now available on the Review of Migration Decisions by the Federal Magistrates Court

Translated versions of the Federal Magistrates Court's brochure Review of Migration Decisions by the Federal Magistrates Court are now available on the Court's website. The new brochure is available in Farsi, Filipino, Indonesian, Korean, Malayam, Mongolian, Nepalese, Russian, Thai, Vietnamese, Arabic, and Spanish.

The brochure is currently being developed in a further eight languages and will be available in the near future. In the meantime, translations of the previous brochure remain on the website.

18 September 2007

Federal Magistrates Court Amendment Rules 2007

These Amendment Rules include a number of miscellaneous amendments to the Federal Magistrates Court Rules 2001 (‘the Rules’), the most significant being:

Forms removed from prescription by Schedule - now approved by the Chief Federal Magistrate

Amendments to remove the prescription, by Schedule, of forms for use in the Federal Magistrates Court. The amendment will enable forms to be approved by the Chief Federal Magistrate from time to time without the need for a formal rule amendment. A list of forms approved for use in the Court will be available from the website. Attached is a separate memo setting out changes to existing forms and new forms approved for use.

Changes to dispute resolution terminology in light of changes to terminology in Family Law Act

Consequential amendments to the terminology used in the Rules for dispute resolution to accord with the terminology in the Federal Magistrates Act 1999 and Family Law Act 1975 as amended by the Family Law Amendment (Shared Parental Responsibility) Act 2006.

Statement of claim (points of claim) / statement of defence (points of defence) - can be filed in general federal law proceedings rather than a supporting affidavit

Amendments to enable the filing of a statement of claim (points of claim) or defence (points of defence) rather than a supporting affidavit, in proceedings other than family law or child support

New form - Application in a case - for interim, procedural, or interlocutory orders filed after commencement of proceedings

New rules to introduce a new form – Application in a case- for those applications seeking interim, procedural, ancillary or interlocutory orders which are filed after commencement of proceedings. The form will apply to all areas of the jurisdiction of the Court.

Time limits for service of application / application in a case

An amendment to introduce time limits for the service of an application and any document filed, of no less than 3 days before the day fixed for the hearing or an application in a case; or less than 7 days before the day fixed for the hearing of any other application.

New child support rules

New rules in relation to child support proceedings which will also include applications for child maintenance. These new rules facilitate determination of such matters, where possible, on the first return date. The new rules also include rules in relation to appeals from the Social Security Appeals Tribunal (‘SSAT’) consistent with recent legislative amendments to the child support legislation.

25 June 2007

New forms

New process for approval of forms (other than for bankruptcy forms)

The Federal Magistrates Court Amendment Rules 2007 introduce a new approval process for forms used in the Federal Magistrates Court. Forms are now approved by the Chief Federal Magistrate, without the need for a formal rule amendment. The new approval process does not apply to bankruptcy forms which are prescribed by way of a Schedule to the Federal Magistrates Court (Bankruptcy) Rules 2006.

Most of the forms previously prescribed under the Rules are now approved. However there are some new forms and minor changes to previously prescribed forms..

Review of forms

Over time, the Court will review all the forms approved for use to ensure they are in a uniform format and are consistent with the legislative aims of the Court. The Court will also endeavour to make these changes in a way which does not present practical difficulties in view of the shared jurisdiction of the Court.

Separate initiating application/response for general federal law proceedings (where no specific application is otherwise approved)

In light of the combined Initiating Application (family law) being trialled for use in the Family Court and the Federal Magistrates Court, a separate initiating form of application and response is approved for use in general federal law proceedings. The new Application–General Federal Law is approved for use in all general federal law proceedings other than those that have a separate application; for example, ADJR, bankruptcy and migration. The new Response–General Federal Law is approved for use in all general federal law proceedings other than those that have a separate response; for example, bankruptcy.   

New form - Application in a Case

The new Application in a Case is approved across all areas of the Court's jurisdiction and is approved for use for interlocutory/interim/procedural orders which are filed after the initiating application. The Rules still provide that a party cannot seek interim orders unless they also seek final orders. The application and supporting affidavit must be served on all persons against whom the order is sought in accordance with Part 6 of the Rules.

No need to file a separate information sheet

The combined Initiating Application (family law) and the new Application-General Federal Law includes the information previously captured in the separate information sheet which was required to accompany certain family law applications and applications alleging unlawful discrimination. For this reason the need to file an information sheet in addition to the application is no longer required and rule 4.06 is repealed.

Rule 4.05 requires an affidavit stating the facts relied upon to be filed with an application or response. This rule is amended to provide for the filing of a statement of claim (points of claim) or defence (points of defence) in general federal law proceedings. The Court has amended the Affidavit form for simplification.

New form – Notice of Appeal (Child Support)

In view of recent amendments to the child support legislation, new child support rules are prescribed. The combined Initiating Application (family law) will be approved for use for those child support proceedings that can still be filed in the Court rather than going to the Social Security Appeals Tribunal. A new Notice of Appeal (Child Support) is approved for appeals against a decision of the Social Security Appeals Tribunal (SSAT), or the Child Support Registrar (CSR) to issue a departure prohibition order. The forms currently prescribed for child support enforcement proceedings are approved for use. A new brochure is available which must be served to accompany applications for child support filed in the Court.

Implementation and availability

The Court will accept the new forms from 30th June 2007, but litigants and practitioners can continue to use the forms previously prescribed. Please note there has been no amendment to the 'substantial compliance rule’ (Subrule 2.04) which provides that, unless otherwise ordered, a form prescribed for a similar purpose for use in the Family Court or the Federal Court may be taken as substantially complying with the Federal Magistrates Court form requirement.

25 June 2007

Compulsory Dispute Resolution 

From 1 July 2007, if you want to apply to the Court for a parenting order (and you have not previously applied), you will need a certificate from a registered family dispute resolution provider which confirms that an attempt at family dispute resolution was made. There are some exceptions to this requirement, such as cases involving family violence or child abuse.

For more information, go to the Family Relationships Online Website www.familyrelationships.gov.au/fdr

The Federal Magistrates Court has issued Practice Direction No 2 of 2007 which outlines the procedure for complying with the requirements.

Applicants wishing to apply for an order under Part VII of the Family Law Act 1975, will be required to provide a certificate from a registered family dispute resolution practitioner, unless there is an exception to this requirement under section 60I(5) or (9).

Practice Direction No 2 of 2007 'Family Dispute Resolution - applications for orders under Part VII Family Law Act 1975' outlines the procedural requirements for applications who seek to file an application for an order under Part VII of the Family Law Act 1975 in the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia.

Please note: If the requirements set out in the Practice Direction are not met, the Court may not be able to deal with the application, may take the failure to meet the requirements into account in deciding costs and/or you may be ordered to attend family dispute resolution.

25 June 2007

General federal law trial in Family Law Courts

The Federal Magistrates Court, Federal Court and Family Court are working together to improve general federal law services to clients in rural and regional centres.

From March 1 2007, Family Law Courts’ registries in Dandenong, Newcastle, Parramatta, Lismore and Townsville are receiving general federal law documents for the Federal Court and Federal Magistrates Court as part of a trial to improve services.

28 February 2007

Application for Divorce, Response to Divorce and Divorce Service Forms

New divorce and divorce service forms and kits will be introduced on 5 February 2007. For more information.

Practice Direction: No.1 of 2007

22 January 2007

Jurisdiction of the Federal Magistrates Court Legislation Amendment Act 2006 - Commencing 4 May 2006

The Act commences on 4 May 2006 and confers additional jurisdiction on the Court in the following areas:

Trade Practices

The Act extends the Court's existing consumer protection trade practices jurisdiction (Part v Division 1 - unfair practices and Division IA - product safety and product information) to include matters arising under Part IVA (unconscionable conduct), Part IVB (industry codes), Division 1AAA (pyramid selling) and 2A (actions against manufacturers and importers of goods) of Part V and VA. The monetary limit on damages has been increased from $200,000 to $750,000.

Admiralty

The Federal Magistrates Court now shares jurisdiction under the Admiralty Act 1988 with the Federal Court and State Courts in in personam actions. These courts can also remit in rem actions to the Federal Magistrates Court.

Administrative Law

The Court has been given jurisdiction to hear appeals against departure prohibition orders issued under the Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988.

Transfer of Jurisdiction

The Federal Court and Family Court have enhanced transfer powers to transfer any matters in their jurisdiction to the Federal Magistrates Court.

See a copy of the Amending Act at:
http://www.comlaw.gov.au/ComLaw/Legislation/Act1nsf/asmade/bytitle/E6297C673161F590CA25714C0022906B?OpenDocument

4 May 2006

Workplace Relations

Commencing 27 March 2006

The Federal Magistrates Court has been given jurisdiction to hear and determine matters under the Workplace Relations Act 1996. The jurisdiction is similar to the workplace relations jurisdiction exercised by the Federal Court including unlawful termination claims as a result of the commencement of the Work Choices legislation. In particular, the Court can hear matters under Section 170 CP of the Act, including unlawful terminations, unfair contracts and breaches of agreement making.

31 March 2006

New Bankruptcy Rules and Forms

Federal Magistrates Court (Bankruptcy) Rules 2006 New harmonised Bankruptcy Rules commence on 6 February 2006 in relation to bankruptcy matters in both the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia and the Federal Court of Australia.

The Federal Magistrates Court (Bankruptcy) Rules 2006 replace Chapter 4 of the Federal Magistrates Court Rules and the Federal Court (Bankruptcy) Rules 2005 replace Order 77 of the Federal Court Rules.

The new harmonised Bankruptcy Rules commence on 6 February 2006. They will be available on the Internet from the ComLaw site at http://www.comlaw.gov.au.

While the new Rules are based closely on the current Chapter 4 FMCR and Order 77 FCR, there is a new version of the prescribed form of creditors petition, which includes the affidavit verifying paragraphs 1, 2 & 3 of the petition.

Creditors petition checklists no longer will be sent to applicants' legal representatives. Instead copies will be available for collection from registries.

The Federal Magistrates Court Amendment Rules 2006 (No. 1) contain a number of miscellaneous amendments, the most significant of which include:

  • Consequential amendments as a result of the approval of separate bankruptcy rules by way of the Federal Magistrates Court (Bankruptcy) Rules 2006
  • Amendments to rules in relation to divorce proceedings consistent with amendments to the Family Law Act to replace the terms 'dissolution of marriage', ' decree nisi' and ' decree absolute' with 'divorce and 'divorce order'
  • Amendments to cater for the commencement of Family Law Amendment Act 2005 insofar as it provides for the enforcement of obligations under a bond
  • The introduction of a new prescribed form of affidavit of service for proceedings generally (previously no particular form of affidavit was prescribed) and some drafting amendments to the service rules generally
  • A new rule to permit the court to dispense with attendance for cross-examination of a person making an affidavit
  • A new power delegated to Registrars under the Family Law Act to rescind a divorce order under section 57 of that Act
  • Amendments consistent with amendments made to Order 81 by the Federal Court Amendment Rules 2004 (No. 4) SR 281 of 2004 which remove the requirements that an application for relief under the HREOC Act and a response to such an application be accompanied by an affidavit in support by prescribing forms 167 and 168 of the Federal Court Rules for use in human rights proceedings in the Federal Magistrates Court
  • Amendment to the subpoena rules to introduce new terms and tighten up the existing rules
  • Amendments to the rules in relation to ending a proceeding early to rationalise and make more consistent

6 February 2006

Family Law Courts launch a 1300 number

The Family Court of Australia and Federal Magistrates Court of Australia today launched a nationwide 1300 phone number to assist people seeking advice with divorce or family law procedures.

Calls will be automatically redirected to a family law registry close to the caller's location until the national inquiry centre at Parramatta commences operations early next year.

3 November 2005

New Chief Federal Magistrate

Chief Federal Magistrate John Pascoe AO took up his appointment as Chief Federal Magistrate on the 14th July 2004.

Chief Federal Magistrate Pascoe was appointed to replace the former Chief Federal Magistrate, Diana Bryant, who was appointed Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia.

14 July 2004

Federal Magistrates Court (Delegation to Registrars) Rules 2000 - Repealled - 3 November 2003

Federal Magistrates Court (Delegation to Registrars) Rules 2000 Statutory Rule 2000 No.171

Note this Rule is repealed and PDF version is provided here only for historical reasons.

3 November 2003

Results of the 2002 Survey on Awareness and Performance

The Federal Magistrates Court of Australia (FMC) was established to provide a simple and accessible forum for resolution of less complex federal law matters. It is to operate in a less formal way.

A second annual survey of legal practitioners has been undertaken by the FMS.

The FMC engaged Profmark Consulting Pty Ltd to conduct a survey of legal practitioners who had used the court. The survey was approved by the Commonwealth Government Statistical Clearing House.

A total of 172 practitioners from around Australia participated in the interviews.

The results of the survey will contribute to the assessment of organisational performance for the FMS.

5 September 2002

Missing Children in Australia

The Federal Magistrates Court of Australia will post profiles of missing children where a publication order has been issued.

Section 121 of the Family Law Act 1975 makes it an offence, except in very limited circumstances, to publish proceedings that identify persons, associated persons or witnesses involved in family law proceedings. The section also extends the prohibition to the publication of any picture.

Occasionally, the Federal Magistrates Court may make a Section 121 Publication Order under the Family Law Act. This allows the media to publish and broadcast information released by the court. Publication Orders are made in rare circumstances where the court is seeking the public's help in locating a missing child or children. Once a Publication Order has been lifted and Section 121 of the Family Law Act reinstated, no further information on the case can be published or broadcast.

Section 97 of the Family Law Act 1975 provides that all proceedings in the court shall be heard in open unless the court decides otherwise.

1 March 2002

Results of the 2001 Survey on Awareness and Performance

The Federal Magistrates Court of Australia (FMC) was established to provide a simple and accessible forum for resolution of less complex federal law matters. It is to operate in a less formal way.

After almost 12 months of operation, the FMC sought feedback about whether its objectives are being met and any suggestions for improvement.  In particular, the FMC sought feedback regarding whether clients were satisfied that their disputes had been handled quickly, simply and economically and whether there was sufficient information available about the service. 

The FMC engaged Profmark Consulting Pty Ltd to conduct a survey by contacting a limited sample of legal practitioners who had used the court during the previous 12 months.  At this time, the FMC has not sought to directly survey the actual parties to disputes.

The results of the survey are intended to contribute to assessment of organisational performance for the FMS.

12 November 2001

Federal Magistrates Court of Australia releases its rules

The Federal Magistrates Court of Australia releases its rules which commenced from Monday, 30 July 2001.

23 July 2001

Federal Magistrates Court of Australia completes first year

A diverse range of cases has come before the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia in its first 12 months of operation. The court has heard matters in all areas of its new workload, including family law, sex and racial discrimination and business disputes.

Celebrating its first anniversary, Chief Federal Magistrate Diana Bryant said family law and bankruptcy had been the main areas of work since the FMC began hearing cases on 3 July last year.

The FMC is also establishing most of the new law in the human rights area.

28 June 2001

Draft Rules

The Federal Magistrates Court of Australia released its draft rules in April 2001.

The FMC was mindful of the unique opportunity given to if ot starting afresh and creating new rules consistent with the legislative objectives. To this end, the FMC decided to consult widely to draw upon the views of others - members of the profession, court users and the like - in settling the draft rules.

Written submissions closed on 7 May 2001 and many suggestions were incorporated into the final rules.

7 May 2001

First Magistrates Sworn In

The first nine federal magistrates have been sworn in at a ceremonial sitting in Melbourne.

While the most important people in any court are the litigants, the first bench of the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia represents the future of the new court. The first nine magistrates are: Norah Hartnett and Murray McInnis in Melbourne, Judy Ryan and Stephen Scarlett in Parramatta, Michael Baumann in Brisbane, Christine Mead in Adelaide, John Coker in Townsville, Warren Donald in Newcastle and Jim Brewster in Canberra. It is expected that additional appointments will be made over the next few months, so that the Service will soon have its initial complement of 16 federal magistrates.

28 June 2000

First Rules Signed

The Chief Federal Magistrate signs the first set of rules for the Federal Magistrate Service.

Federal Magistrates Court (Delegation to Registrars) Rule 2000 Statutory Rule No.171,

26 June 2000

Federal Magistrates Court of Australia begins operation

The Federal Magistrate Service will accept matters from 23 June 2000 in all registries.

The Service will sit as the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia in Melbourne, Parramatta, Adelaide, Newcastle, Brisbane and Townsville on 3 July 2000.

Federal magistrates have not been appointed in some capital cities and federal magistrates will not be resident in the non-family law jurisdiction of the court in most places other than Sydney and Melbourne. However, arrangements will be made for the first court date of some non family law matters, such as discrimination and bankruptcy matters, in other places to be conducted by videolink.

Rules of court specific to the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia have not been made. Under section 43 of the Federal Magistrates Act 1999 the Federal Court rules or the Family Law rules will apply, with appropriate modification, to the practice and procedure of the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia.

23 June 2000

 

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