On Friday 12 April 2013, the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia changed its name to the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. As a consequence Federal Magistrates will now be referred to as Judges.
Over the past 12 years there has been a shift in the balance of workload between the Federal Circuit Court and the Family Court of Australia, with the majority of all family law matters now heard in the Federal Circuit Court. This has resulted in the Family Court becoming a smaller/specialist court that deals with appeals and the most lengthy and complex family law cases.
Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, John Pascoe, said that the change of name more accurately reflects the Court’s modern role in the federal court system.
“It acknowledges its broad Commonwealth jurisdiction in both family law and general federal law and the inclusion of ‘circuit’ highlights the importance of the Court’s work in regional locations. The Court is committed to providing justice to all Australians regardless of geographic location and it has a well established circuit program which services over 33 regional locations in addition to our city-based registries. The benefit of such a program is that parties who live in regional locations can have their matter heard at a location closer to them, thus reducing costs for litigants both in time and money by not having to travel to a major city. This is particularly important at a time of stress.”
The Federal Circuit Court deals with more than 85 per cent of all family law matters and most divorces are filed in the Federal Circuit Court with 92,542 applications filed in the Court in 2011-2012. In 201112, 83 per cent of all applications (family law and general federal law) were completed within six months and 95 per cent were completed within 12 months and the Court circuited to 33 rural and regional locations, and spent the equivalent of approximately 145 weeks (in Judicial hours) hearing matters in regional areas.
If you have a matter currently being heard before the Court the change of name will have no significant change on the way your matter proceeds.