Commonwealth Consolidated Acts

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FAMILY LAW ACT 1975 - SECT 41

Establishment of State Family Courts

             (1)  As soon as practicable after the commencement of this Act, the Commonwealth Government shall take steps with a view to the making of agreements with the governments of the States providing for the creation of State courts to be known as Family Courts, being agreements under which the Commonwealth Government will provide the necessary funds for the establishment and administration of those courts (including the provision of counselling facilities for those courts).

             (2)  Where, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, a State has created a court known as a Family Court, the Governor-General may, by Proclamation, declare that, on and after a date specified in the Proclamation, this section applies to that court.

             (3)  Where, by virtue of a Proclamation under subsection (2), this section applies to a court, this Act has effect in relation to the institution of proceedings on or after the date fixed by the Proclamation, and in relation to proceedings so instituted and proceedings transferred to that court in accordance with this Act, as if references in sections 39, 46, 94 and 96 to the Supreme Court of a State were, in relation to the State in which the court referred to in the Proclamation is established, references to that court, and that court is invested with federal jurisdiction accordingly.

          (3A)  Notwithstanding the issue of a Proclamation under subsection (2) and the provisions of subsection (3):

                     (a)  proceedings by way of cross-proceedings in relation to proceedings for principal relief that were pending in the Supreme Court of the State concerned immediately before the date fixed by the Proclamation; or

                     (b)  proceedings of a kind referred to in any of paragraphs (c) to (f) of the definition of matrimonial cause in subsection 4(1) that:

                              (i)  relate to proceedings for principal relief that were pending in the Supreme Court of the State concerned immediately before the date fixed by the Proclamation; or

                             (ii)  are between parties between whom proceedings of a kind referred to in any of paragraphs (c) to (f) of that definition were so pending immediately before that date;

may be instituted, heard and determined in that Supreme Court on or after the date fixed by the Proclamation.

             (4)  The Governor-General shall not make a Proclamation under this section in respect of a court unless the Governor-General is satisfied that:

                     (a)  arrangements have been made under which Judges will not be appointed to that court except with the approval of the Attorney-General of the Commonwealth;

                     (b)  Judges appointed to that court are by reason of training, experience and personality, suitable persons to deal with matters of family law and cannot hold office beyond the age of 70 years; and

                     (c)  appropriate family counselling and family dispute resolution services, and family consultants, will be available to that court.

          (4A)  A party to proceedings instituted or continued under this Act that are at any time pending in the Supreme Court of a State or Territory, being proceedings that could, at the date of the application under this subsection, have been instituted in a Family Court of a State, may apply to a Family Court of a State for an order transferring the proceedings to that Court, and the Court may order accordingly.

             (5)  References in this Act or the standard Rules of Court to a court of summary jurisdiction shall not be read as including references to a court to which this section applies.



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