National Contravention List

The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (the Court) expects that all parties will comply with orders of the Court. Alleged breaches of court orders are taken seriously, and will be dealt with in a quick, safe and cost effective way by the Court through the National Contravention List.

Any Application – Contravention filed in the Court from 1 September 2021, pursuant to Part VII Division 13A or Part XIIIA of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), will be dealt with through the National Contravention List.

There can be serious consequences for failing to comply with court orders without a reasonable excuse. Parties who fail to comply with court orders without reasonable excuse may be subject to costs consequences and/or other penalties or sanctions.

Legal practitioners appearing in the National Contravention List may also be subject to personal costs orders if the application or defence of the application is determined to be frivolous or without merit, or where non-compliance with the Rules of Court is demonstrated.

For more information, see the Family Law Practice Direction – National Contravention List

What will the National Contravention List achieve?

The key objectives of this list are:

  • to efficiently deal with applications on a national basis in a timely, cost effective and safe way for all litigants
  • for applications to be given a first return date within 14 days of filing
  • to ensure compliance with court orders by all parties
  • to impose appropriate penalties or sanctions where a contravention has been proved and where a party has failed to demonstrate they had a reasonable excuse for non-compliance with court orders
  • to proactively facilitate the resolution of underlying issues in disputes that lead to the filing of such applications
  • to triage appropriate matters to dispute resolution, and
  • to be responsive to a party's wishes to resolve matters without recourse to additional litigation.

How do I file in the National Contravention List?

  1. Prior to filing, parties are expected to have complied with the Court's pre-action procedures where it is safe to do so. Refer to the Court's Central Practice Direction – Family Law Case Management for more information.
    • Prepare the following documents:
    • Application – Contravention
    • an Affidavit stating facts in support of the orders sought in the application
    • a copy of the order, bond, agreement or undertaking that is alleged to have been contravened
    • where required, a section 60I certificate, unless an exception applies and an exemption is sought.
  2. In the affidavit include:
    • details of the acts or omissions which the applicant alleges the respondent has done to contravene the order, bond, agreement or undertaking (if there is more than one act or omission alleged, include details of each alleged act or omission)
    • evidence that the respondent is aware of the contravened orders (for example, the orders were made by consent of both parties, or at a hearing where the respondent was present)
    • evidence that the respondent had no reasonable excuse to contravene the order, bond, agreement or undertaking, and
    • if it is an application for a contravention of a parenting order – state whether a court has previously found that the respondent contravened the primary order without reasonable excuse and the details of any finding made.
  3. File your application by emailing the above documents to contraventionlist@fcfcoa.gov.au.

Once received, applications will be considered by a contravention registrar within 14 days of being lodged for filing. If the application is deficient or non-compliant with the relevant Rules of the Court, the contravention registrar may decline to accept the application for filing.

How does the list work?

The National Contravention List will operate nationally and will be conducted electronically. Applications that are accepted for filing will be given a first return date before a contravention judicial registrar as near as practicable to 14 days after the date of filing or, if the application is filed in proceedings that are listed for final hearing within eight weeks from the date of filing, the application will be listed to the judge or a senior judicial registrar for hearing.

If the application is accepted for filing and listed before a contravention registrar, there are a number of options that the contravention judicial registrar may consider. These are outlined in detail in the Family Law Practice Direction – National Contravention List.

Related information

Family Law Practice Direction – National Contravention List

Application Contravention form.