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Magistrates' Court and Children's Court consider pursuing an information-sharing arrangement between the Family and Federal Circuit Courts


Who is leading the change

  • Court Services Victoria

The Magistrates’ Court of Victoria and the Children’s Court of Victoria consider pursuing a formal information-sharing arrangement or protocol with the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia that is consistent with the new information- sharing regime in the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic), as recommended by the Commission. The protocol should clearly set out the purpose of and principles for information exchange and allow communication between the jurisdictions in relation to process. Among the information to be exchanged between courts should be relevant court documents such as court orders, judgments, court reports and transcripts. The protocol should be regularly reviewed.

  • The work of the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria on this recommendation has included:

    • conducting consultation with the Children’s Court of Victoria (CCV), Family Court of Australia (FCA) and Federal Circuit Court of Australia (FCCA) regarding information sharing requirements that are required further than the existing protocols in place
    • drafting a protocol that will enable the sharing of court orders and other relevant information to assist in identifying and managing risk for families experiencing family violence
    • engaging across jurisdictions, receiving feedback and reaching agreement on the protocol
    • implementing the protocol into business as usual activities
  • The Royal Commission into Family Violence addressed the difficulties that families can face attempting to navigate a system that is split between Federal and State jurisdictions. As a result of this recommendation, each relevant jurisdiction has agreed in principle to a protocol to share relevant information to the extent that is necessary to assess and manage family violence risk and enable the courts to make appropriate orders that are informed by orders made in other jurisdictions.

    Information to be shared under the agreement includes:

    • court files
    • judgements
    • information pertaining to orders such as family violence intervention orders, relevant criminal sentencing outcomes and child protection orders, and
    • information in relation to the status of proceedings in family violence, criminal and child protection proceedings

    In addition, section 68R of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) requires family law act orders that are revived, varied or suspended by the MCV/CCV in the course of making a family violence intervention order, whether interim or otherwise, must be sealed and sent electronically to the FCC/FCA as soon as reasonably practicable.

    The MCV is also undertaking a 12-month project to trial the expanded use of its existing family law jurisdiction. This trial will build an evidence base to inform the development of a robust model upon which broader implementation of an integrated system could be based. This trial will incorporate reviewing and updating court forms and their contents to ensure court users are aware of the jurisdiction of the MCV under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) and establish better linkages with other jurisdictions.

  • Implemented.

Reviewed 16 March 2021

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