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The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia have established a new Court List in order to address urgent situations for children in circumstances where a parent is not available to care them.

The Critical Incident List commenced on 6 June 2022 and will be accessible for people in every State and Territory other than Western Australia.

What is the Critical Incident List?

The List will be managed on a national basis by a specialist dedicated Judge from Division 1 of the Court, Justice Brasch.

It aims to establish a fast-tracked process to help families who need to make appropriate arrangements for children where a parent is not available as a result of death, critical injury or incarceration relating to family violence.

The Court has recognised that immediate orders are often needed during these times of crisis and this list will assist in making decisions about where a child can live, as well as for parental responsibility, enabling non-parent carers to make appropriate arrangements for children, including school enrollments and consent for medical treatment.

Whilst specific information in relation to this new List is limited at this time, it is a reflection of the importance placed by the court on the best interests of children. Importantly, the List will allow non-parents and children to receive substantial assistance at considerable times of crisis.

The Critical Incident List will join a number of other specialist lists maintained by the Court to ensure appropriate action on a variety of specific areas arising in the Family Law sphere. The Court continues to maintain the Evatt List and Magellan List which also provide additional support to families in parenting matters.

The Evatt List was introduced to the profession at the time of the Court merger in September 2022 and is stated by the Court to be an:

“Initiative of the Court where a highly qualified team of Judges, Senior Judicial Registrars, Evatt List Judicial Registrars, Court Child Experts and Court staff are allocated to help progress a case that is considered to be high risk. There are various Court events that take place for these cases, with a final trial taking place as quickly as possible. The Evatt List has been created by the Court to ensure that families are provided with appropriate resources and support to ensure everyone’s safety and wellbeing. It also aims to manage the cases as efficiently and effectively as possible.”

The Magellan list is a system of case management of the Court for cases that involve serious allegations of physical and sexual abuse of children. These cases often involve matters where there are allegations of risk of significant harm made to child protective departments. Generally the Court will manage these matters extensively at the judicial level and will appoint additional case supports, such as Independent Children’s Lawyers and Court Child Experts early.

We look forward to seeing this new Critical Incident List assist those children who are most in need due to serious circumstances involving family violence.

Should you or someone you know need help with family law matters, please contact our dedicated family law team via phone on 8414 3400 or email [email protected].