Commencement of Indigenous List in Lismore and Coffs Harbour


The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1) and the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) (the Courts) have informed the Lismore and Coffs Harbour local practitioners and service providers that the Courts will be operating a specialist Indigenous List commencing 23 January 2023.

The Courts have employed Ms Kygim King, Indigenous Family Liaison Officer, who commenced with the Courts in October 2022. Ms King’s role includes supporting indigenous litigants to remain engaged throughout the case management process and to work with community organisations who may be able to assist indigenous families.

Indigenous Lists are designed to meet the particular needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parties and adopt an appropriate degree of informality. The local Indigenous Family Liaison Officer will be available in the lead up to the list and on the hearing day. Specialised support services will also available on the day, and the judicial officer may decide to close the courtroom to the public, if considered appropriate. Indigenous Family Liaison Officers help parties to understand and engage with court processes, and connect parties to legal and other support services. Indigenous Family Liaison Officers may also assist in cases involving Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples for some other court events.

The specialist Indigenous List will, whenever possible, be heard in person, at Lismore and at Coffs Harbour, once per month for each registry. The list will be facilitated by Senior Judicial Registrar Flintoff with final hearings in the FCFCOA (Division 2) usually being presided over by her Honour Judge Turner in Lismore and her Honour Judge Carty in Coffs Harbour.

At the Court’s discretion, a matter may be listed to the specialist Indigenous List by:

  • a party identifying on their Initiating Application or Response to Initiating Application as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander;
  • a party seeking an order for listing in the specialist Indigenous List (including by way of oral application);
  • in the case of urgent applications – a cover letter included with the filed documents seeking listing to the specialist Indigenous List; or
  • during a court event, and at the court’s initiation, where it is identified that referral to the specialist Indigenous List may be appropriate.

Given the support that can be provided by the Indigenous Family Liaison Officer together with the specialist nature of the Indigenous List, parties are encouraged to seek to apply to be in the list where appropriate. The upcoming dates for the specialist Indigenous List are:

  • Coffs Harbour 7 February and 7 March 2023, and
  • Lismore 23 January, 21 February and 28 March 2023.

Further information about the operation of the specialist Indigenous List will be communicated via InBrief as it becomes available.

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