Harmonisation of Family Law Court Rules


The Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia have engaged the Honourable Dr Chris Jessup QC to oversee development of unified family law processes  

The unification will look to establish a common set of rules, forms and case management in the Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court  of Australia. 

A working group  of Judges of both Courts was established in February and government funding has been secured to properly  resource this project.

The former Federal Court Judge, the Hon Dr Chris Jessup QC, has accepted an invitation to Chair the Joint Rules Harmonisation Working Group.  Dr Jessup QC will  oversee  the  harmonisation  project,  and  assist  in  developing  a  consistent  approach  to  case management  which places a priority on identifying risk to children.  

Chief Justice Alstergren said “Dr Jessup QC, assisted by two barristers, will work closely with the Judges in the Working Group to draft a common set of rules and forms, and will be actively involved in consulting with all Judges, the profession and  other stakeholders that have an interest in the jurisdiction. The appointment of an independent Chair to this  position will ensure objectivity, transparency and confidence in the process. 

“Despite  the  best  efforts  and  integrity  of  individual  Judges  of  both  Courts,  and  the  assistance  of  the  profession,  there  has  been  a  long  history  of  unacceptable  delays  in  having  family  law  cases  heard  and  determined. That needs to change as does our family law system, and I call upon the profession and other  stakeholders to support this vital project as the Courts endeavour to improve access to justice for Australian  families. The community should expect no less,” Chief Justice Alstergren said.  

For more information on the project, see www.familycourt.gov.au

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