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Courts introducing eFiling for subpoenas

The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1) and the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) are introducing eFiling for family law ‘Requests to issue a subpoena’.

This move is in response to feedback from the profession, and as part of the commitment to modernising court processes.

Initially, eFiling will only be available for subpoenas seeking the production of documents where there is an ongoing family law final orders application. 

From 31 July 2023, the new ‘Request to Issue a Subpoena’ option will be available on family law final orders applications in the Commonwealth Courts Portal

As part of this change, a new ‘Subpoena (Family Law) Cover Sheet’ will be applied by the court to each family law subpoena, once it has been issued.

The cover sheet outlines the last date for service, the date for production and how/where to produce the documents requested under subpoena. A cover sheet will be applied to all family law subpoenas, including those that are not eFiled or cannot be eFiled (I.e. subpoenas requiring attendance and subpoenas requiring attendance and production).  

There are plans to introduce eFiling for all family law subpoena types in the future, however at this stage, eFiling will not be available for subpoena against applications other than final order applications (e.g. interim applications, contravention applications) or subpoena for attendance / attendance and production of documents. 

New subpoena forms 

Separate subpoena forms are being released for family law and general federal law/migration. The Notice of objection – Subpoena is also being updated and removed from the end of the subpoena forms. It will be available separately on the website.  

From 29 July 2023, the following new subpoena forms will be available from www.fcfcoa.gov.au/resources/forms

  • Subpoena – Family Law 
  • Subpoena – General Federal Law and Migration  
  • Notice of objection – Subpoena  

A grace period for the use of the old forms will extend until close of filing on 29 September 2023. 

Producing subpoenaed documents in family law 

Subpoenaed material cannot be produced through the Commonwealth Courts Portal. Where possible, documents should be produced by sending an email to the court location set out on the ‘Subpoena (Family Law) Cover Sheet’. All family law registries now have a discrete generic subpoena email address e.g. [location].subpoena@fcfcoa.gov.au.  

Further information on issuing subpoenas in family law is available at www.fcfcoa.gov.au/fl/subpoenas 

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