Guide for parties in the Evatt List


1.    What is the Evatt List?

2.    What is the Family DOORS Triage screening?

3.    The Evatt List team

4.    The events that take place in the Evatt List

5.    Expert reports in the Evatt List

6.    Subpoenas

7.    Orders

8.    Safety at Court

9.    The Trial

10.   Attending Court

11.   Enquiries and contact information

12.   Commonwealth Courts Portal


1. What is the Evatt List?

1.1 The Evatt List is an initiative of the Court where a highly qualified team of Judges, Senior Judicial Registrars, Evatt List Judicial Registrars, Court Child Experts and Court staff are allocated to help progress a case that is considered to be high risk. There are various Court events that take place for these cases, with a final trial taking place as quickly as possible.

1.2 The Court appreciates that it can be very stressful for families who are experiencing family breakdown. The Evatt List has been created by the Court to ensure that families are provided with appropriate resources and support to ensure everyone’s safety and wellbeing. It also aims to manage the cases as efficiently and effectively as possible.

1.3 You are eligible to be included in the Evatt List if:

  • your case is for parenting orders only, and
  • you have competed the Family DOORS Triage Risk screening and have returned a ‘high risk’ screening classification.

An Evatt List Judicial Registrar will also review the case and determine whether it is appropriate for the Evatt List.

2. What is the Family DOORS Triage screening?

2.1 The Family DOORS Triage screening is an online risk screening questionnaire. You will be invited to complete the questionnaire when you file an Application or Response with the Court where you are seeking orders relating only to children (as opposed to orders relating to financial matters).

2.2 The questionnaire will take approximately 10 to 15 minutes to complete. All of the questions seek a yes or no reply, rather than specific detail or examples. Your answers cannot be used as evidence in your matter or used against you by the other party. The other party will not be able to see your answers.

2.3 The answers to the questionnaire will produce a category of risk. The three possible levels of risk are low, moderate or high. If the result of the questionnaire is high risk, the matter will likely be placed in the Evatt List.

3. The Evatt List team

3.1 The leader of the Evatt List team is the Evatt List Judge, who, if required, will be the person who makes a final decision in the case.

3.2 There are other people within the Court that will help the Judge and make some decisions in the case, including a Senior Judicial Registrar and Evatt List Judicial Registrar. A Court Child Expert from the Court Children’s Service of the Court may also be involved to prepare a report for the Judge. See the Court Child Experts brochure for more information.

3.3 You may have regular contact with the Evatt List Judicial Registrar who is there to make sure the case is running smoothly through the Court process. The Evatt List Judicial Registrar is an officer of the Court, with specialised qualifications and experience in family law and Court procedure. The Evatt List Judicial Registrar will check that orders have been followed by all parties and any information that the Court needs to make a decision is available for the Judge or Senior Judicial Registrar.

4. The events that take place in the Evatt List

4.1 A broad summary of the events that will take place in the Evatt List is set out below:

Step 1 Within 3–5 days of screen

Before First Court event

The Evatt List Judicial Registrar reviews the case to confirm it is appropriate for the Evatt List, order a report from a Court Child Expert, and gather any information the Court might need to make a decision, for example, documents from the Police, other courts or the child welfare department.

Step 2 Within 8–12 weeks

First Court event

The Judge or Senior Judicial Registrar will address any urgent issues and decide what evidence and information needs to be gathered to get the case ready for a trial.

Step 3 Within 3–6 months

Second Court event

A plan will be made for the trial and directions made to get the case ready.

This may include a specialised report being ordered by the Court.

Family Dispute Resolution might be considered if it is safe to do so.

Step 4 Within 6–9 months

Compliance check

The Evatt List Judicial Registrar will check that the evidence, any specialised report, and/or other information is filed or available to the Court in readiness for the trial.

If the case is ready, it will be referred to a trial. If it is not ready for a trial, it will be referred to the Judge.

Step 5 Within 9–12 months

Trial before the Judge.

4.2 Unless you are told otherwise, you are required to attend the Court events throughout the Evatt List pathway. The Court has tried to limit the number of attendances required at Court and if you are legally represented, you may be able to have your lawyer attend without you. You should, however, discuss this with your lawyer.

4.3 The Court also has options for attendance at court events by video or telephone. See the electronic attendance request form for more information. You should contact the Court’s National Enquiry Centre (NEC) on 1300 352 000 if you have any questions about this.

5. Expert Reports in the Evatt List

5.1 In parenting cases before the Court, the Judge or Senior Judicial Registrar might consider that the issues require some investigation and reporting by an expert, such as a psychologist, psychiatrist, or drug and alcohol expert.

5.2 Parties (and if represented, their lawyers) are usually given the opportunity to discuss, review, and agree on an appropriate expert. However, if an agreement cannot be reached, the Judge or Senior Judicial Registrar might impose a decision about this on the parties.

5.3 Sometimes the Judge or Senior Judicial Registrar will order that a Family Report be prepared by a Court Child Expert of the Court. Refer to the Family Reports brochure for more information.

6. Subpoenas

6.1 A subpoena is a legal document issued by the Court at the request of a party to a case. A subpoena requires a person to produce documents or give evidence at a hearing or trial. You may consider a subpoena where you want the Court to see documents or hear information from a third party that are relevant to the decision the Court must make.

6.2 If you wish the Court to issue a subpoena, you need to draft it yourself. The Court must approve the subpoena and be satisfied that it is relevant to the case.

6.3 For more information refer to the Subpoena brochure.

7. Orders

7.1 Court orders are the way the decisions or judgments of judicial officers are described. They can include:

  • an order made after a hearing by a judicial officer, or
  • an order made after parties have reached their own agreement.

7.2 When an order is made, each person bound by the order must follow it.

7.3 When you make an Application to the Court or file a Response to the other party’s application, you must include the orders that you wish the Court to make in relation to your child/ren.

7.4 The Court has online resources to help you prepare the orders you wish to seek in your Application/Response or even in any agreement you may reach with the other party. Refer to How do I apply for Parenting Orders for more information.

It is also recommended that you read the Attorney-General’s Department’s Parenting Orders – what you need to know booklet.

8. Safety at Court

8.1 The Court places the highest priority on the safety of families. If you have any concerns for your safety when attending Court, it is important you let the Court know as early as possible, and at least five days before your Court event. A safety plan can be set up, which might include arrangements for you to attend the Court event by telephone or video.

8.2 You can contact the Court via:

For more information about safety at Court, see the Do you have fears for your safety when attending court? brochure for more information.

9. The trial

9.1 Trials of Evatt List matters are given priority and it is hoped they can take place within nine to 12 months of the screening. However, it is paramount that you follow all of the Court’s directions, particularly those that require things to be done within certain timeframes, so that there is no delay.

9.2 Division 12A of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) applies to parenting cases which means that:

  • the Court process can be less formal
  • the Judge or Senior Judicial Registrar can decide how the case should be managed, and
  • the rules of evidence do not apply strictly in the Evatt List.

9.3 In some circumstances, the rules of evidence are applied more strictly, but the Judge or Senior Judicial Registrar will decide when this is applicable.

10. Attending Court

10.1 The Court understands that it can be very stressful and overwhelming to attend Court, especially when you may not understand the procedures and expectations.

10.2 If you have difficulty with English and need to attend a Court event, call the National Enquiry Centre on 1300 352 000 or your Legal Case Manager to ask for an interpreter to be booked. This service is free for parties to the proceedings.

10.3 Interpreter services for deaf, hearing impaired and/or speech impaired clients are also available. Arrangements can be made for AUSLAN interpreters or CART (Communication Access Real-time Translation) service providers to accompany clients who are deaf, hearing impaired, and/or speech impaired at Court events. You should call the Court on 1300 352 000 or your Legal Case Manager to make these arrangements, which are provided free of charge.

10.4 There is additional information available at Going to court – tips for your court hearing.

11. Enquiries and contact information

11.1 Contact details for the Court’s registries are available on the Court’s website.

12. Commonwealth Courts Portal

12.1 Filed documents in a case can be viewed by parties or those authorised by a party on the Commonwealth Courts Portal (CCP). The CCP provides web-based services for Court users to access information about cases before the Court. Parties may register for the CCP to gain access to documents which have been eFiled, as well as orders of the Court, judgments, and listing events (past or future).