From January 2023, parties wishing to commence family law proceedings in circuit locations will be able to choose their first return dates before a Judicial Registrar directly on the Commonwealth Courts Portal.
A significant amount of work has been undertaken to ensure that parties living in rural and regional areas serviced by Circuit lists are able to have the same access to the Courts and benefit of the case management pathway as those living in larger cities.
Circuit matters will now be listed into first return events before a dedicated Circuit Judicial Registrar. These listings will be available with increased frequency and will, as is the case for matters filed in larger registries, have first return and directions events conducted electronically via Microsoft Teams.
Interim hearings will also be accommodated with greater frequency and primarily occur before a Senior Judicial Registrar, remotely and electronically via Microsoft Teams, or in person, depending on the specific circuit location.
There will be one Judicial Registrar assigned to specific Circuit locations, so that there is a consistency for parties in circuit matters. Where possible, and having regard to any issues of urgency, the same Senior Judicial Registrar will conduct the interim hearings for those circuit matters.
Judges will continue to travel to Circuit locations for final hearings. In 2023, the Court is pleased to be able to return to some in-person circuits in Victoria in Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Mildura, Shepparton and Warrnambool. The Court is appreciative of the support of the Magistrates Court of Victoria in facilitating these circuits.
The following circuit locations are now available on the Commonwealth Court’s Portal for first return events commencing in 2023:-
New South Wales