Urgent Family Law Matters and COVID

Dealing with a family law matter is an incredibly stressful time for all parties involved particularly if it involves a degree of urgency. Add to this the current situation that we find ourselves in with COVID-19 and it only adds to the stress that some people are experiencing with respect to family law matters.

Today, the Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia have released a Joint Practice Direction aimed at assisting parties during this time. The Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia have announced the introduction of the COVID-19 List which is a list established solely to deal with urgent family law matters that have arisen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The following criteria applies for a matter to be listed in the COVID-19 List:

  • The application has been filed as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • The matter is urgent;
  • The Affidavit accompanying the application addresses the requisite criteria set out by the Courts;
  • If it is possible, attempts have been made to resolve the issue but they have been unsuccessful; and
  • The matter can be dealt with electronically.

In terms of the types of matters the Courts envisage may be dealt with in the COVID-19 List, they are matters involving supervised contact, family violence, border restrictions and medial issues.

Here is a link to the full Joint Practice Direction:


If you have a matter that has arisen solely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, or touches on any of the issues mentioned above, the matter may be able to be issued in the COVID-19 List thereby bringing it before the Courts urgently.

Should you need to discuss the COVID-19 List and whether it applies to your individual circumstances, feel free to contact David De Alwis and Elyse Byrne of Hope Earle’s family law team on 9600 3330 or 0422 432 692. During this time, Hope Earle’s family law team is operating as per normal (albeit remotely). In addition, we have protocols and technology in place so that we are able to attend Court hearings in any registry electronically.