On 30 September 2021, the Hon William Alstergren, Chief Justice of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1 and Division 2) announced the commencement of the Major Complex Financial Proceedings List.
The new list is part of a pilot program within the Court’s Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane Registries which commenced on 1 October 2021. The purpose of the new list is to assist in the management of the most complex cases so that the proceedings can be resolved efficiently.
To be referred to the Major Complex Financial Proceedings List, the case must satisfy a criteria established by the Court:
- involve a contested net asset pool of $20 million or more; and
- involve a complex disputed issue such as:
- serious allegations of non-disclosure;
- serious disputes in relation to valuations or other expert reports;
- substantial assets held through a trust/corporate entity or offshore;
- substantial third-party claims to the asset pool;
- serious allegations of fraud; or
- other complex questions of law or novel points of law; and
- not involve a parenting dispute, or if it does, the parenting dispute can be considered and determined separately at a discrete hearing, or referred to Dispute Resolution, such as a Parenting Dispute Resolution Conference.
Parties can apply to be a part of the pilot or the Court may direct that a matter be referred to the new list on its own initiative.
The expectation of the Court on the parties and their lawyers is that all steps will be taken to ensure the case progresses within a strict timetable dealing with disclosure issues and expert reports so that the matter proceeds to dispute resolution at the earliest appropriate opportunity.
The Team at Dorter Family Lawyers & Mediators welcomes the introduction of the pilot program. We understand the detrimental effect that prolonged litigation has on our client’s and their families, and we are encouraged by the Court’s proposal to increase the pace at which complex matters proceed within the Court.
If you have any questions about the introduction of the Major Complex Financial Proceedings List or would like to know how this may impact your family law dispute, please contact us on (02) 9929 8840.