The Sydney Registry of the Family Court of Australia has advised that it will be conducting rolling lists commencing on 27 February and 6 March 2017. The list will involve 11 judges being present in the registry over the 2-week period and the court proposes to list possibly up to 70 matters in those sittings.
The Family Court, on 30 and 31 August 2016, conducted a callover of matters and has by letter to the president of the Bar Association indicated that it hopes to publish by early September 2016 the list of matters that will be heard in the 2-week sittings and the order of listing.
The court has determined that matters that the first 11 cases will be listed to commence at 10.00am on Monday, 27 February 2017. Parties will not know the judge before whom they are allocated and as a judge becomes available, as a consequence of a hearing concluding or otherwise not proceeding, then the next case in the list will come before that judge and be heard until the entirety of the cases listed in the first week have been determined.
As a consequence of concerns expressed by the profession, the court has re-assured the president in the following terms:
The management of the list will not be entirely inflexible. Where the circumstances require, some accommodation can be anticipated. If your member seeks special treatment of individual proceedings – such as the exclusion of the proceedings from the list, they would know to make that application.
The Family Court has expressed the view that the implementation of such a rolling list is as a response to the steadily increasing delays in the Sydney Registry and a desire to reduce the back-log of hearings in the knowledge that the court’s judicial resources are unlikely to increase in the foreseeable future.