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Structural reform of the federal courts

On 30 May 2018, the Attorney-General announced the government’s intention to bring forward legislation for structural changes to the federal courts (excluding the High Court of Australia).

Under the legislation, a new Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCA) will be established from 1 January 2019 through the amalgamation of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and the Family Court of Australia.

A new Family Law Appeal Division in the Federal Court of Australia will also be established to hear all appeals in family law matters from the FCFCA (and some appeals from the Family Court of Western Australia).

The reforms will help Australian families resolve their disputes faster by improving the efficiency of the family law system, reducing the backlog of matters before the family law courts, and driving faster, cheaper and more consistent dispute resolution.

This announcement does not have any immediate effect on matters currently before the courts. Transitional arrangements will be put in place for those matters that are before the courts at the time of the commencement of the reforms to minimise any delay or inconvenience to parties.

More information about the reforms is available in the following fact sheets: