The COVID-19 List has expanded its operation to provide for a broader range of circumstances to be included in the criteria for the list.
The continuation and expansion of the COVID-19 list provides families that are experiencing family law disputes that relate to the pandemic with an avenue to have that specific issue heard and resolved quickly via the Family Court of Australia or the Federal Circuit Court.
The COVID-19 list would be particularly beneficial to clients or litigants affected by COVID-19 in circumstances where: there has been an increase in the risk of family violence; there are concerns in relation to existing or proposed parenting orders; there is a dispute regarding vaccinations against COVID-19; medical issues have arisen; there are concerns in relation to travel arrangements or border restrictions; there are concerns in relation to supervised contact; or there are urgent or priority financial and maintenance issues.
Applications that meet the expanded COVID-19 criteria will be given a first return date before a national registrar, senior registrar or a judge within three business days of being considered by the national registrar if assessed as urgent, or otherwise within seven business days if priority but not urgent.
The operation of the COVID-19 list is set out in Joint Practice Direction 1 of 2021.