Priority Property Pool cases – update 1

The Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne and Parramatta registries of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) have run the successful Priority Property Pool (PP) under $500,000 Pilot (PPP500) since 1 March 2020.

In this pilot, cases with asset pools of less than $500,000 were carefully case managed by registrars to ensure they were able to progress quickly to dispute resolution conferences or, if necessary, a timely and streamlined trial.

The pilot has been positively evaluated by the Australian Institute of Family Studies which noted:

  • the model was a quicker and more efficient way to assist parties with modest pools resolve financial matters;
  • over the period of the pilot about 78 per cent of cases were managed and finalised by registrars within about five months of filing, freeing up considerable judicial time;
  • the model yielded favourable social return on investment and social value outcomes for parties including improvements in their financial wellbeing;
  • vulnerable parties including those with allegations or evidence of family violence accessed quick settlement outcomes, or pathways to judicial determination where required.

As a result of the sustained success of this focused, cost-effective case management, the courts have received federal funding to expand the initiative to all filing registries. The criteria for inclusion as a PPP Case has also been expanded to afford a greater number of parties access to this case management model.

From 30 October 2023, a matter will be eligible to be designated a Priority Property Pool Case (PPP Case) where:

  • the Initiating Application seeks only financial relief (ie alteration of property interests and/or spouse maintenance only); and
  • involves either:
  • an asset pool with a total value of up to $550,000 (excluding superannuation) or
  • an asset pool which has a value greater than $550,000 (excluding superannuation) but the Court, in its discretion, designates the matter as a PPP Case having regard to relevant features including family violence, limited complexity and/or risk of disproportionate costs or delay.

Full details about which matters are eligible to be designated as PPP Cases can be found on the Courts’ website. Practitioners are expected to be familiar with these criteria and to discuss them with parties before preparing material for filing.

Share this article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Search by keyword