From 10 September 2019, personal cross-examination have been banned in family law proceedings in certain circumstances where allegations of family violence have been raised.
Amendments to the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) have been made that provide protection to victims of family violence who are cross-examined as part of family law proceedings.
What is Personal Cross Examination?
Personal cross-examination is where a party asks questions of another party or witness directly, rather than having the questions asked by a lawyer.
Who will conduct cross examination?
Under the scheme, cross-examination will now be conducted by legal representatives.
How is the scheme funded?
The scheme is funded by the Commonwealth Government and administered by the state/territory to provide legal representation to parties subject to the ban.
Applying to the Commonwealth Family Violence and Cross-Examination of Parties Scheme for a lawyer
Legal aid commissions have been given specific funding to provide legal representation to people where a ban on personal cross examination has been made.
Section 102NA of the Family Law Act and section 102NA Orders
To obtain a lawyer through the scheme a notice of ban on personal cross-examination pursuant to s102NA of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) must be received by the Legal Aid Office from the courts.
Once the notice is received, you may then apply to the relevant legal Aid commission.
Upon application pursuant section 102NA
- If the trial date is within 12 weeks, where funding is available within the scheme and where available, a lawyer will be allocated.
- If the trial date is outside 12 weeks, the application will be held and then processed closer to the trial.
Parties in receipt of funding under the scheme do not have grants of legal aid. Accordingly, section 117(4)(a), which precludes the making of a costs order against a party who has received legal aid in respect of the proceedings, does not apply .
Costs applications may still be made in appropriate circumstances.
We have solicitors who can help with seeking orders pursuant to section 102NA.
If you are seeking advice in relation to a family law court matter, contact Claire Naidu & Co, Lawyers and Mediators for family law advice. Click here for our contact details.
Note: This blog does not constitute legal advice and Claire Naidu & Co is not responsible for any reliance upon its contents.