Practice Direction 1 of 2019 from the Federal Circuit Court of Australia issued last week, providing for a new method of dispute resolution in the Federal Circuit Court.
Commencing on 1 January 2019 the Federal Circuit Court of Australia is implementing Judicial Mediation. As a sign of the Court’s commitment to resolution of disputes in the most efficient manner, Judicial Mediation will provide a further step for parties to explore agreement based outcomes rather than judicially imposed outcomes.
Matters meeting the suitability criteria will be eligible, upon application by a party (orally made in Court or in writing to the Court) for the appointment of a judicial mediator (who cannot be a judge who has previously sat on the matter) to assist in resolving matters.
Those matters which will be considered eligible include:
- Where all parties are legally represented or if self-represented, the matter has been assessed by the court as suitable;
- Property and parenting disputes (but only where no allegation of serious risk or family violence);
- Child support matters; and
- Matters were the costs and time of the trial are considered disproportionate to the subject matter of the dispute.
Upon eligibility being satisfied and the Court approving the matter for involvement in the Judicial Mediation program, the Court will make procedural orders for the conduct of the Judicial Mediation, however the remaining conduct of the process is entirely within the discretion of the Judicial Mediator. The added benefit of a mediator who is a judge of the Federal Circuit Court, can only assist parties in their decision making processes.
Given that a vast amount of 2018 has been spent criticising and admonishing the Federal Circuit Court for delays and over listing, it is encouraging to see that 2019 is commencing with a commitment on the Court’s part to exploring resolution in as many ways and on as many occasions as possible.
If you are seeking expert, resolution focused advice on your family law dispute including participation in the Judicial Mediation program, contact Marino Law on 0755260157 to meet with a member of our family law team.