FCFCOA Merger – Is it Costing Family Law

FCFCOA Merger – Is it Costing Family Law

Despite the recent merger of the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court of Australia (FCFCOA) promising to deliver justice more efficiently and cost effectively, only four per cent of Australian family lawyers recently surveyed by Smokeball believe costs have decreased under the new pathway, with 55 per cent believing they have increased and 41 per cent saying they have not changed.  

However, a survey of more than 200 delegates at Smokeball’s 2022 State of Family Law webinar showed that a larger majority (63 per cent) of lawyers feel the system works well with more matters being resolved at the time of mediation and indicating the top benefits as a great role for registrars (51 per cent), clearer case pathways (39 per cent) and a fast resolution of matters (5 per cent).  

Jane Oxley, CRO at Smokeball comments, “This merger is the most significant change to the family court since 1975, so everyone involved in the family law system has a lot of change and adaptation ahead to not only understand the new FCFCOA Act and its rules but how to prepare their matters and their clients for this new world”.  

To help its clients and any family law practitioner navigate this new era Smokeball, together with FamilyProperty, will hold several in-person conferences in Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne with leading family law experts to explain the new state of family law and share practical insights.  

The State of Family Law conferences are CPD accredited and will be held in Brisbane (Tuesday 7 June), Sydney (Tuesday 14 June) and Melbourne (Thursday 16 June). Speakers include:  

  • Anne-Marie Rice, Senior Judicial Registrar Federal Circuit & Family Court of Australia
  • The Hon. Justice Garry Watts AM  
  • Jane Oxley, CRO, Smokeball 
  • Fiona Kirkman, CEO, FamilyProperty & Principal, Kirkman Family Law 
  • Clarissa Rayward, Director, Brisbane Family Law Centre (Brisbane only) 
  • Professor Patrick Parkinson AM, Professor at the TC Beirne School of Law (Brisbane)
  • Amanda Little, Principal Solicitor, Amanda Little & Associates (Sydney) 
  • Anna Baltins, Solicitor in Charge, Head of Domestic Violence Unit, Legal Aid NSW (Sydney)
  • Talya Faigenbaum, Principal Lawyer and Family Law Team Leader, Nest Legal (Melbourne)
  • Joanne Law, CEO & Director of Studies, Mediation Institute (Melbourne) 

Amanda Little comments, “The scale of the FCFCOA merger and the sweeping changes of how the Court functions will have long term benefits for separating families and society. The rapid and swift movement towards a resolution focussed system, means that lawyers are moving into the role of a dispute resolution facilitator and ongoing education and support to the legal profession is essential  to ensuring its success. We as practitioners, will benefit in our practice and the families we support will reap the rewards with a guide through the process.” 

Jane adds, “The response to our initial national online seminar was very strong and showed a need for more practical assistance for practitioners, so we decided to run these events across the country. We hope our events will help family law practitioners understand both the implications of the changes for their business, and to walk away with smart and practical insights to make the transition as easy as possible.”


For more information and to register: 2022 State of Family Law Program. 


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