12 Feb The Government funds the Priority Small Property Pool to be extended to all Family law registries.
On 10 October 2023, the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia announced, that the Courts have received funding from the Commonwealth Government to expand the “Priority Property Pool under $500,000” Pilot initiative to all filing registries.
The Pilot had been introduced since 1 March 2020 in the Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Parramatta registries of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2). The Pilot was for cases with asset pools of under $500,000 (excluding superannuation) and those cases 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 was highly successful and led to a quicker and more efficient way to assist parties with modest pools resolve financial matters. The Court has reported that over the period of the pilot approximately 78% of cases were managed and finalised by registrars within approximately 5 months of filing, freeing up considerable judicial time.
As a result of the Commonwealth funding, the initiative has been expanded to allow a greater number of parties to be able to access to this case management model. This should result in client’s having cases dealt with much faster and less expensive.
In accordance with the Guidelines, a matter will be eligible to be designated a Priority Property Pool Case (PPP Case) where;
- An Initiating Application has been filed that relates to financial matters and/ or spousal maintenance, or urgent spousal maintenance AND EITHER
- the net value of the property of the parties (excluding superannuation
interests) is, or appears to be, under $550,000; OR
- the net value of the property of the parties (excluding superannuation interests) is not significantly greater than $550,000 and the Court, in its discretion, makes a declaration or notation that the proceeding is designated as a PPP Case in circumstances where:
- having regard to the relevant assets of the parties, the Court considers it appropriate to include the matter as a PPP Case; and/or
- due to the parties (or a party) having a particular vulnerability including having regard to the location of the parties, demographic features of the parties, or allegations of family violence including coercive control, the Court considers it appropriate to include the matter as a PPP Case; OR
- The Court otherwise, in its discretion, makes a declaration or notation that the proceeding is designated as a PPP Case.
Full details about which matters are eligible to be designated as PPP Cases can be found on the Courts’ website.
At the time of commencing proceedings, all applicants will be guided, via the Commonwealth Courts Portal, to consider whether the case involves a pool of under $550,000 (excluding superannuation) and, if so, will be informed that the proceedings may be commenced by filing an Initiating Application, PPP Financial Summary and Genuine Steps Certificate.
Where matters cannot be resolved at a dispute resolution conference the registrar will discuss other means of finalising issues in dispute in a timely and cost-effective way. This will include speaking with the parties about the benefits of arbitration and/or short form final hearings.
To find out if your case is one that could proceed under the Priority Property Pool, please refer to the brochures available on the Court website.
The new Commonwealth funding to this Pilot is very much welcomed.
If you would like to discuss your Family Law Matter with one of our team, contact Solari and Stock Solicitors on 02 8525 2700 or click here to request your free 30 minute consultation with one of our experienced team.
For more information please go to the FCFCOA website or click here to watch the You Tube clip on the Priority Property Pool National Expansion, which provides greater detail about this initiative.