Has time with your children been impacted by Covid-19? The Covid-19 List is was developed in 2020 as a mechanism for dealing with issues that have cropped up as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, where the issues have affected compliance with parenting orders/agreements. The Covid-19 List enables you to apply urgently to the Federal Circuit & Family Court of Australia for interim parenting orders where certain criteria are satisfied.
Have you been prevented from spending time with your children due to Covid-19?
If you are being prevented from spending time with your children due to a covid-19 related issue, you can make an urgent application to the Federal Circuit & Family Court of Australia for inclusion on the Covid-19 list.
In order to be considered for the COVID-19 List, your application must satisfy the following criteria:
- the application has been filed as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic;
- the matter is urgent;
- the application is accompanied by an Affidavit (using the COVID-19 template affidavit for the FCoA or FCC) that addresses the criteria set out in paragraph 13 below;
- if safe to do so, reasonable attempts have been made to resolve the issue, but were unsuccessful; and
- the matter is capable of being dealt with by electronic means.
Operation of the COVID-19 List
The COVID-19 List is an initiative of the Chief Justice/Chief Judge, and is at all times managed and overseen by the Chief Justice/Chief Judge and will be administered by the National COVID-19 List Registrars.
The National Registrars will consider the urgency of the applications filed and triage them to Judges in each Court who have been assigned to the COVID-19 List.
In triaging an application, the National Registrar will consider whether the matter is suitable for an urgent electronic mediation or conciliation and may make orders to facilitate this.
Applications that meet the COVID-19 criteria will be given a first return date before a National Registrar or a Judge within 3 BUSINESS DAYS of being considered by the National Registrar, or less if assessed as critically urgent.
If the application does not meet the relevant criteria for inclusion in the COVID-19 List, it will be listed into the usual duty list.
If the matter involves significant risk to the parties and/or the children, it will be referred directly to a Judge by the National Registrar.
If the application is part of an existing proceeding and has already been docketed to a Judge, that Judge will be consulted in the listing process and invited to mention the application within the required time period if possible.
The COVID-19 List will operate electronically, meaning that the application may be heard by a Judge from any Registry.
The COVID-19 List Judge will only hear the discrete COVID-19 application, or put interim arrangements in place to deal with the circumstances of urgency. Once that issue is dealt with, the remainder of the matter will be case managed by the docket Judge or a Registrar as appropriate.
Filing an application in the COVID-19 List
Applications to be placed in the COVID-19 List are to be filed by email to:
To file an application in the COVID-19 List, the Applicant must file:
1. The application;
2. A supporting affidavit of NO MORE THAN 6 PAGES using the COVID-19 TEMPLATE AFFIDAVIT
3. A cover letter for urgency – see Annexure;
4. In the Federal Circuit Court, a Notice of Risk or, in the Family Court, a Notice of Child Abuse, Family Violence or Risk of Family Violence
In accordance with practice direction 2 of 2020 the appliction can be signed electronically without a witness.
The Affidavit must address the following criteria:
- why the matter is urgent;
- how the dispute has arisen as a direct result of COVID-19;
- details of any current allegations of risk to children or parties, such as a risk of child abuse or family violence;
- details of the parties’ reasonable attempts to resolve the dispute through negotiation, or details of why it was not safe to attempt to resolve the dispute by negotiation; and details of how it is proposed the Respondent can be provided with a copy of the court documents, including information about the Respondent’s current email address; and
- if applicable, annexing (or attaching a copy or photo of) any current family law orders, parenting plans, or family violence orders, e.g. an intervention order or domestic violence order.
Unless it is not safe to do so, you the Applicant must copy the Respondent into the email when emailing the documents to the Court to put them on notice of the proceedings.
The Registrar may require the Respondent to file answering material on short notice on the urgent issue only.
Examples of applications that may be suitable for filing in the COVID-19 List
- family violence – there has been a risk in family violence due to restrictions imposed by Covid-19
- Supervised contact – there are parenting arrangements involving supervised contact but the contact centre has closed / supervisor is unable to perform the role.
- border restrictions – the parties live in different states and the child cannot travel between the parties residences due to border restrictions.
- medical – the parties and/or child has tested positive for Covid-19 and there are concerns due to sickness/infection.
The link to the COVID-19 template affidavit is here: http://www.federalcircuitcourt.gov.au/…/fcc-affidavit…
For more information in relation to the Covid-19 List, click the link.
For more information in relation to the vaccination of children against Covid-19, check out our article: The covid-19 Vaccination: Is consent of both parents required?
I want to file an application for inclusion in the Covid-19 List
For more information and advice as to whether you meet the criteria for an application for inclusion in the Covid-19 List, contact our office and book a reduced rate initial consultation with one of our experienced family lawyers, for advice in relation to your specific circumstances.