FCFCOA Expansion of the Lighthouse model


The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1) and Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) have released an update regarding the expansion of the Lighthouse model, a world-leading innovation in the risk screening, triage and assessment of family law matters.

The Courts were successful in receiving funding to expand the current Pilot, detailed here.

From 28 November 2022, the Courts will roll out the Lighthouse model to Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Canberra, Dandenong, Darwin, Hobart, Launceston, Melbourne, Newcastle, Parramatta, Rockhampton, Sydney, Townsville, and Wollongong in both parenting and parenting/financial cases.

The Lighthouse model involves three interconnected processes:

  • Risk Screening: Parties filing an eligible Initiating Application or Response, will be asked to complete the Family DOORS Triage risk screen via a confidential and secure online platform. This has been developed specifically for the Courts and can be completed safely and conveniently from any device; computer, mobile phone or tablet. Assistance can also be provided by the Lighthouse Team to complete.
  • Triage: The Lighthouse Team, a dedicated, specialised team, will assess and direct cases into the most appropriate case management pathway based on the level of risk. The team is made up of highly skilled Judicial Registrars, Triage Counsellors (psychologists/ social workers acting in the role of Family Counsellor), and support staff with detailed knowledge in family violence and family safety risks. The team will triage matters and identify parties who may require additional support and safety measures. This may include online referrals or interviews with those most at risk.
  • Case Management: Those matters with the highest levels of risk will be referred to be placed on the Evatt List, the specialist court list developed and designed to assist those families that have been identified as being at high risk of family violence and other safety concerns. The Evatt List focuses on early information gathering and intervention from the very commencement of proceedings. The team has specialised training and is experienced in working with families where high risk safety issues have been identified. Lower risk cases will be considered for a range of case management pathways, including dispute resolution, in accordance with the level of risk and the Central Practice Direction – Family Law Case Management.

The Courts will be releasing a series of updates to the profession over the coming weeks in advance of the commencement of the expanded model on 28 November 2022.

Please click on the respective links for the first Update to the Profession and Factsheet.

The Update has been published on the website here.

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