The Commonwealth Parliament has passed the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Act 2020 and the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Act 2020, in February 2021 and it awaits Royal Assent.
The new Acts create one court, that is an amalgamated Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCA) with two Divisions. Division 1 will consist of judges of the Family Court of Australia and will deal with the most complex matters and exercise appellate jurisdiction. Division 2 will consist of judges of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and will be the single point of entry for family law and child support cases.
All initiating applications are to be filed in Division 2. All appeals are to be filed in Division 1.
There will be new court rules and those rules are likely to be based on the Harmonised Rules being developed separately from the merger and could be implemented before the merger.
It is anticipated that new FCFCA will operate from 1 September 2021.