The Evatt list operates in the Adelaide, Brisbane and Parramatta registries and will shortly be implemented into a further 15 registries nationwide. The matters in the Evatt List are given priority and they are aimed at being completed within 9-12 months, which is a significantly reduced time from 2-3 years for the average family law matter.
A matter will only be allocated to the Evatt List if it satisfies the following criteria: –
- The matter filed before the Court is only in relation to parenting; and
- The completion of the DOORS triage risk screening questionnaire results in a ‘high risk’ classification.
To be considered ‘high risk’ there needs to be substantial allegations of circumstances such as family violence, drug and substance abuse and/or mental health issues that involve a high level of risk for the children in the matter.
The general case management process of the Evatt List is as follows: –
- After completion of the questionnaire, the Registrar reviews the matter to see whether it is appropriate for referral to the list. If the matter is considered appropriate, the Registrar will also make orders for the appointment of an Independent Children’s Lawyer in addition to an order for information to be provided by NSW Police and the Department of Communities and Justice. This event occurs in the absence of the parties.
- The next stage is the first Court event, being an interim hearing. The Judge or Registrar will make interim or short-term orders in relation to the arrangements for children on this date. This generally occurs 8-12 weeks from the date of filing, depending on the availability of the court and the urgency of the matter.
- The next Court event is in relation to the progression of the matter towards a final hearing. The Court will make orders in relation to further evidence required for the Court to make further decisions, including the preparation of the family report and the filing of further Affidavits. The Court may also consider whether mediation is suitable for the matter.
- The next step is a compliance check conducted by the Court to ensure that the matter is on track for the upcoming hearing. This is generally conducted via telephone and the Court is aiming for this to occur within 6-9 months from the date of filing.
- The final court event aimed to occur within 9-12 months of filing is the final hearing of the matter where the Court will decide on orders appropriate for children until they are 18 years old. The matter will be referred to a Judge and will be heard over a period of 2-5 days.
If your matter is listed in the Evatt List or you need advice in relation to parenting arrangements where complex risk issues exist, speak to one of our experienced solicitors in relation to your rights and legal obligations moving forward.