The Evatt List is a specialist list developed by the Courts where a highly qualified team of Senior Judicial Registrars, Judicial Registrars, Court Child Experts and court staff, in consultation with Judges, are allocated to manage eligible cases that are considered to be high risk, through more intensive case management and resources. The Evatt List is managed in accordance with Family Law Practice Direction – Evatt List.
The Evatt List has been created to ensure that families who are the most vulnerable are provided with resources, support and timely court events. It is a case management pathway that responds to the particular needs of the family as efficiently and effectively as possible to minimise the risk of further trauma and harm.
In broad terms, the Evatt List case management pathway is as follows:
Evatt Determination Event and Evatt First Return Event: within 5-10 business days after referral, an Evatt Judicial Registrar will review the case to determine if it is appropriate for the Evatt List and make preliminary orders in chambers. The case will be listed for its first court event, usually 6-8 weeks after the date of placing the matter on the Evatt List. The Evatt Judicial Registrar will consider any procedural requirements and identify as appropriate, the case management approach for the orders and in consideration of the needs of the case.
Interim Hearing: within 10-12 weeks, the Judge or Senior Judicial Registrar will address any urgent issues, interlocutory applications, and decide what further information and evidence needs to be gathered to progress the case to finalisation, either through settlement or a trial. This will usually include making interim orders.
Specialist Case Management: from 6-8 months, the Evatt Judicial Registrar will check on the progression of any interim orders, outcomes of any dispute resolution or conciliation conferences and identify next case management steps and opportunities for settlement prior to trial where this is safe and appropriate to do so.
Compliance and Readiness Hearing: within 10 months, the matter will be listed for a Compliance and Readiness Hearing (CRH) before a Judge. At the CRH, the Judge will make directions about the trial and provide trial dates.
Final Hearing: Within 12 months, the matter will go to trial before a Judge.
Frequently asked questions
What is the Evatt List?
The Evatt List is a specialist court list with a highly qualified team of Judges, Senior Judicial Registrars, Judicial Registrars, Court Child Experts and court staff assigned to support high risk cases, which have serious and significant risk factors.
It was named after the Honourable Elizabeth Evatt AC, the first Chief Justice of the Family Court.
The Evatt List ensures that families are provided with appropriate support to safeguard against family violence and other associated risks. It also ensures cases are managed through the Court process as efficiently and effectively as possible, with a focus on identifying risks and early information gathering. For more information, see the Guide for parties in the Evatt List.
How is a case placed onto the Evatt List?
A case may be placed onto the Evatt List if:
it is an eligible proceeding filed in a family law registry
one of the parties (applicant or respondent) has completed the Family DOORS Triage questionnaire
the case has been reviewed by a Triage Counsellor, and
the Evatt Judicial Registrar has reviewed the case and determined it is appropriate for allocation to the Evatt List in accordance with Family Law Practice Direction – Evatt List.
If a case is allocated to the Evatt List, a formal Court Order will be made notifying parties generally, before the first Court date. If you do not receive a formal Court Order, your court date originally allocated and case pathway will remain the same unless otherwise advised by the Court.
Parties are unable to self-refer or be referred to Lighthouse for placement on the Evatt List by external support agencies or by any other means.
Can a party bring a support person or friend to a conference or other court appointment?
If a party is not legally represented, they may have a friend or support person attend a Court hearing, conference or other appointment with them. In most cases, the support person's involvement in the conference/appointment will be limited. In special circumstances, the Judge, Judicial Registrar or Court Child Expert conducting the conference/appointment may allow the support person to provide information to the Court.
If a party has a friend or support person with them for a court hearing, they may sit at the back of the courtroom. Please note, children and young people under 18 are not permitted in the courtroom.
How does the Evatt List operate?
A key principle of the Evatt List, is the early and front-ended proactive case management of the matter by the Evatt Judicial Registrar prior to its first listing date and interim hearing. This approach is designed to assist the Judge or Senior Judicial Registrar to make the most appropriate decision as soon as practical, based on the evidence gathered by the Evatt Judicial Registrar and parties. To support this approach, the Evatt Judicial Registrar will conduct regular chambers events to ensure compliance with orders/directions, pursue information, and liaise with Court Children’s Service as and when required.
All judicial officers supporting the Evatt List has specialised training and experience working with families where high risk, serious safety issues have been identified.
Are parties required to attend court events throughout the Evatt List?
Unless otherwise advised, you should make arrangements to attend all court events if your case has been placed onto the Evatt List.
The Evatt List has been developed with a focus on safety and supporting the individual needs of a case. You or your legal representative will be notified about attendance requirements. If you are concerned about your safety when attending court, you should contact the Court about alternative arrangements, including, for example, attendance by telephone or video.
Do applications need to be filed with a particular cover letter to be considered for the Evatt List?
There is no need for you to do anything when you file your Initiating Application or Response to be considered for the Evatt List. Cases are placed on the Evatt List in accordance with Family Law Practice Direction – Evatt List and at least one party must have completed the Family DOORS Triage risk screen.
In order to receive an email with a link to the Family DOORS Triage questionnaire, please ensure that your personal contact details have been provided to the Courts.
Parties and lawyers are requested to ensure that the party’s personal email address is provided to the Court in the following ways:
Both represented and unrepresented parties can provide their email address prompted in the course of uploading their Initiating Application or Response on the Commonwealth Courts Portal.
- Where parties are represented and have not provided their email address, lawyers will be contacted by the Lighthouse Team to obtain their client’s personal details for the purpose of the risk screening process via an online form.
We strongly encourage you to complete the Family DOORS Triage questionnaire as soon as possible after the link is sent to you. This email will be sent shortly after you file your court documents.