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Joint Practice Direction 3 of 2020 - The COVID-19 List

The Family Courts have issued a combined practice direction regarding the new COVID list.  The Joint Practice Direction applies to urgent family law applications filed in the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia which are filed as a direct result of the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19). Applications that meet the COVID-19 criteria will be given a first return date before a National Registrar or a Judge within 3 business days of being considered by the National Registrar, or less if assessed as critically urgent.  The Court may make an order for an urgent electronic mediation or conciliation.  The following are examples of applications that may be suitable for filing in the COVID-19 List:

  1. Supervised contact: the current parenting arrangements involve supervised contact, and the contact centre is closed or the supervisor is unable to perform their role, and the parties cannot agree on an alternative arrangement.

  2. Border restrictions: the parties live in different States or Territories and the child cannot travel between the parties’ residences due to border restrictions.

  3. Medical: The parties and/or child have tested positive for COVID-19 and cannot fulfil the parenting obligations due to sickness or concerns of infection.

  4. Family violence: There has been an increase in risk due to family violence resulting from the restrictions imposed on families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The application must be accompanied by an Affidavit and we have shared the links for the Affidavit precedents below, and a covering letter which is provided for in the practice note itself.

Here are the links to the Affidavits for the COVID-19 list, you can find the covering letter precedent in the Practice Direction itself.

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