Relocation List - Melbourne Registry
NOTICE TO PRACTITIONERS AND LITIGANTS
Part 1 - Preliminary
1. The Relocation List has been established as a pilot project for the hearing of certain family law proceedings in Melbourne involving applications to vary existing orders or parenting arrangements primarily as a result of a proposed change of residence of a person with primary, majority, or shared care of a child or children.
2. The Relocation List will run as a pilot project for 12 months. Whether the Relocation List continues thereafter (and the scope of the matters suitable for the list) will be subject to review by the Chief Judge.
3. The judges sitting in the Relocation List shall be as nominated from time to time by the Chief Judge or Case Management Judge for Victoria. At the commencement of the list the Relocation List judges shall be:
The purpose of the Relocation List
4. The Relocation List has been established to meet the needs of children who would be prejudiced if their carers are unable to expeditiously obtain a decision when seeking orders permitting them to change the place of residence of children, where such a change would result in the parent being unable to comply with existing parenting orders or arrangements. Commonly there will be a need for an expeditious determination, such as an offer of employment or a transfer of the place of employment of a parent or another significant person in the life of the parent or child.
Principles guiding the Relocation List
5. The principles guiding all proceedings conducted in the Relocation List are that:
Matters heard in the Relocation List
6. Matters filed or transferred into the Relocation List will ordinarily meet the following mandatory criteria prior to filing:
7. Matters filed or transferred into the Relocation List will not ordinarily involve unresolved issues:
8. An application, (which must be accompanied by an affidavit and financial statement), may be filed in the Relocation List upon written request confirming that the matter meets the mandatory criteria and identifying the relevant paragraphs of the supporting affidavit.
9. Requests to file in the Relocation List in circumstances where the mandatory criteria are not met must be made in writing to the Duty Registrar, identifying the relevant paragraphs of the supporting affidavit.
10. Applications will be listed before a Judge for directions between 16 and 21 days after filing, and marked ‘Relocation List – Note the Relocation List Practice Note applies to this case’ on the first page of the application in red ink by the registry.
11. Applications should be served within 48 hours after filing. When serving an application in the Relocation List, a copy of this practice direction must be served with the application, and attested to in the Affidavit of Service.
12. A Response, Affidavit in support of the Response and Financial Statement must be filed within 14 days after service (as provided for in the Federal Circuit Court Rules).
Filing in, and Transfers to the Relocation List
13. A matter that is suitable for the Relocation List may be transferred to it by a Judge who is hearing the matter on the first return date, or upon the first hearing date following circumstances arising that demonstrate that the matter is suitable for the Relocation List.
14. Matters may be transferred to the Relocation List by consent for a directions hearing, provided the matters are suitable for the Relocation List.
First Directions date in the Relocation List
15. If a party fails to appear at the first return date in the Relocation List, the matter will ordinarily proceed immediately as an undefended hearing.
16. If the respondent fails to file and serve a response, affidavit and financial statement prior to the first return date, the Respondent must show cause why the matter should not be heard forthwith on an undefended basis.
17. At the directions hearing the parties should provide:
18. Ordinarily the parties will be assigned a hearing date on the first directions day, usually as soon as the parties are able to obtain a family report and file material for trial.
19. Parties are expected to be ready to proceed with matters for which hearing dates have been agreed to or set by the court.
20. Adjournments shall be granted only for a material reason. If an adjournment is granted upon the request of (or default of) the applicant, the matter will usually be removed from the Relocation List and listed in the next available duty list in Melbourne.
21. Consent of the parties is not, of itself, sufficient to justify an adjournment. A significant additional consideration with respect to any adjournment is the efficient administration of the relocation list.
22. Parties are expected to retain counsel promptly. A request for an adjournment because counsel has not been retained promptly or because new counsel has been retained prior to the hearing shall be dealt with accordingly.
Part 2 - Contested Matters: General
Confirmation that hearing is required
23. Parties must confirm that the hearing is required at least two days in advance of the hearing by telephone or email to the Associate to the docketed Relocation List Judge hearing the matter.
Urgent interlocutory application
24. A party who seeks to list a matter for an urgent directions hearing must contact the Associate to the Relocation List Judge by email, and copy the email to the other parties.
25. Requests for the hearing of urgent applications will be heard on an “as required” basis, by the docketed Relocation List Judge. The Associate will notify the parties of the time and location for the hearing of the urgent application.
Part 3 - Materials for use of the court
26. Parties are strongly encouraged to file any materials for use of the court earlier than the dates specified in the directions, especially for more complex hearings.
Trial Documents List
27. Each party (including the Independent Children’s Lawyer) is required to a file and serve a list of material to be relied upon (‘List of Trial Documents’) at least 2 business days before the trial. A copy of the list must be served upon each other party together with copies of any documents in the list that have not previously been filed and served.
Part 4 - Expeditious Final Orders and Reasons for Judgment
28. It is expected that final orders will usually be made within 7 days of the completion of the hearing.
29. Often reasons for judgment will not be available at the time of making final orders, and will ordinarily be delivered orally (or in writing) a reasonable time thereafter, if requested by either party. If reasons are delivered orally, a request may be made for the reasons to be provided in a settled written form.
Part 5 – General
30. This notice can be found on the Court’s website: www.federalcircuitcourt.gov.au.
31. The email address of the Associate to the docketed Relocation List Judge is in the following format: Associate.Judge[Surname of Judge]@federalcircuitcourt.gov.au.
32. Parties and practitioners are reminded that ordinarily it is not appropriate to communicate with a judges chambers directly, and that any email sent to the associate of a Judgee pursuant to this practice direction must also be copied to each other party in the proceedings.
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