A Pilot for “small claim” property cases has been funded through the Commonwealth Government’s Women’s Economic Security package which is designed to improve the responsiveness of the family courts to family violence.
The Pilot, which commenced on 1 March 2020, will operate in the following registries of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia:
The aim of the PPP500 pilot is to improve the responsiveness of the family courts for vulnerable parties so as to provide a simplified way of resolving property disputes which will minimise risk and legal costs, and best preserve the parties’ assets. The purpose is to achieve a just, efficient and timely resolution of PPP500 cases, at a cost to the parties that is reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances of the case.
A PPP500 case is an application for alteration of property interests pursuant to section 79 of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) (Family Law Act) or section 90SM Family Law Act (as may apply) filed after 1 March 2020 in the Pilot location, where the following applies:
- the net property of the parties (including superannuation interests) is, or is likely to be, $500,000 or less, and
- there are no entities (such as a family trust, company, or self-managed superannuation fund) owned or in the effective control of either party that might require valuation or expert investigation, and
- neither party in the proceedings seeks orders:
- for parenting or any other order pursuant to Part VII of the Family Law Act
- pursuant to the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 and/or the Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988 , or
- by way of an enforcement of an order or obligation whether a parenting or financial obligation.
- Proceedings can be commenced in a PPP500 matter with the filing of an Initiating Application and a PPP500 Financial Summary (form).
- Elements of Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Family Law) Rules 2021 (Family Law Rules) are partially suspended for a PPP500 case. In particular, the requirement to file an affidavit, Financial Questionnaire and Financial Statement is waived until:
- the Court directs a party to file an affidavit, Financial Questionnaire and Financial Statement; or
- directions requiring the filing of further material are made in preparation for a Final Hearing, following unsuccessful Dispute Resolution event/s.
- Registrars review all property only applications filed in order to provide early identification of PPP500 matters and make orders in chambers to progress the matter prior to the first court date.
Case management of a PPP500 case has two components:
- registrar-led triage and resolution (limb one): where a Registrar can assist separating couples to reach agreement, in the shortest possible time, and
- short-form Judge managed PPP500 lists (limb two): applying procedurally simpler processes to the determination phase.
More information on the case management of PPP500 cases can be found in the Guide for Practitioners and Parties in Family Law Priority Property Pools under $500,000 cases
Further information on the PPP500 Pilot can be found in the following documents
- Family Law Practice Direction – Priority Property Pools under $500,000
- Guide for Practitioners and Parties in Family Law Priority Property Pools under $500,000 cases
- PPP500 Financial Summary (form)
- Priority Property Pools under $500,000 cases – Short-form expedited hearings
- Priority Property Pools under $500,000 cases – Preparing for the first court date
The "Priority Property Pools under $500,000" (PPP500) Pilot is a pilot funded by the Australian Government.
The Australian Government engaged the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) to undertake an independent evaluation of PPP500.
The Evaluation of the Small Claims Property Pilot – Priority Property Pools under $500,000 (PPP500) has been published and is publicly available through the Attorney- General’s Department’s website Evaluation of the Small Claims Property Pilot – Priority Property Pools Under $500,000 (PPP500) or through the AIFS website Evaluation of the Small Claims Property Pilot – Priority Property Pools Under $500,000 (PPP500.