The Chief Executive Officer and Principal Registrar is appointed to assist the Chief Justice/Chief Judge to administer the Court. The CEO and Principal Registrar’s powers are broad (sections 85 and 251 of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Act 2021), although the Chief Justice/Chief Judge may give direction (sections 85(3) and 251(3)). David Pringle PSM was appointed CEO and Principal Registrar on 17 April 2020.
The Principal Registrar provides high level legal and procedural advice to support the judicial functioning of the Court. As a senior lawyer, the Principal Registrar discharges the statutory duties assigned to that position by the Family Law Act 1975, works closely with the Chief Justice and judges in administering the Act and related legislation, and identifies areas in need of reform. The Principal Registrar presides in court and holds the delegated power to make orders in interim parenting cases, maintenance cases and some enforcement of financial obligations. The Principal Registrar also oversees the performance of, and provides direction to, the Court’s judicial registrars.