Reprint
as at 31 March 2014

Coat of Arms of New Zealand

Family Courts Act 1980

Public Act1980 No 161
Date of assent21 January 1981
Commencementsee section 1

Note

Changes authorised by subpart 2 of Part 2 of the Legislation Act 2012 have been made in this official reprint.

Note 4 at the end of this reprint provides a list of the amendments incorporated.

This Act is administered by the Ministry of Justice.


An Act to establish Family Courts as divisions of District Courts, and to provide for the constitution, jurisdiction, powers, and procedures of Family Courts

1 Short Title and commencement
  • (1) This Act may be cited as the Family Courts Act 1980.

    (2) Except as provided in subsection (3), this Act shall come into force on 1 October 1981.

    (3) Section 6 shall come into force on the date on which this Act receives the Governor-General's assent.

2 Interpretation
  • In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,—

    District Courts Rules means the rules made under section 122 of the District Courts Act 1947

    Family Court Judge includes the Principal Family Court Judge

    Family Courts Rules means the rules made under section 16A.

    Section 2: replaced, on 13 September 2002, by section 3 of the Family Courts Amendment Act 2000 (2000 No 65).

3 Act to bind the Crown
  • This Act shall bind the Crown.

4 Establishment of Family Courts
  • Every District Court shall have a division, to be known as the Family Court.

5 Appointment of Family Court Judges
  • (1) The Governor-General shall from time to time, by warrant under his hand, appoint sufficient Family Court Judges to exercise the jurisdiction of Family Courts.

    (2) A person shall not be appointed to be a Family Court Judge unless—

    • (a) he is, or is eligible to be, a District Court Judge; and

    • (b) he is, by reason of his training, experience, and personality, a suitable person to deal with matters of family law.

    (3) If the appointee is not, at the time of his appointment, a District Court Judge, he shall be appointed to that office.

    (4) Notwithstanding his appointment as a Family Court Judge, any Family Court Judge may from time to time sit as or exercise any of the powers of a District Court Judge.

    (5) Subject to subsection (6), every Family Court Judge shall hold that office so long as he holds office as a District Court Judge.

    (6) With the prior approval of the Governor-General, any Family Court Judge may resign that office without resigning his office as a District Court Judge.

6 Principal Family Court Judge
  • (1) The Governor-General must, on the advice of the Attorney-General, appoint a Principal Family Court Judge.

    (2) The appointment must be for a period of 8 years, and the person is not eligible for reappointment.

    (3) A person's appointment as Principal Family Court Judge ceases if he or she ceases to hold office as a District Court Judge.

    (4) With the prior approval of the Governor-General, the Principal Family Court Judge may resign that office but continue in office as a District Court Judge.

    (5) To avoid doubt, a person does not cease to hold office as a District Court Judge solely because the term of the person's appointment as Principal Family Court Judge has come to an end.

    (6) Despite subsection (2), the Principal Family Court Judge continues in office until his or her successor comes into office.

    (7) The Principal Family Court Judge is responsible for ensuring the orderly and expeditious discharge of the business of the court in consultation with the Chief District Court Judge.

    Section 6: replaced, on 20 May 2004, by section 3 of the Family Courts Amendment Act 2004 (2004 No 44).

7 Acting Family Court Judges
  • (1) Whenever by reason of illness, absence from New Zealand, or any other cause the Principal Family Court Judge is prevented from exercising the duties of his office, the Governor-General may, by writing under his hand, appoint one of the Family Court Judges to act as the Principal Family Court Judge until the Principal Family Court Judge resumes his duties.

    (2) The Governor-General may at any time during the illness or absence of any Family Court Judge, or for any other temporary purpose, by warrant under his hand, appoint 1 or more District Court Judges (including any Judge appointed pursuant to section 10 of the District Courts Act 1947 and also including any acting District Court Judge appointed pursuant to section 10A of that Act) to be a Family Court Judge or Family Court Judges to hold office for such time as is specified in the warrant.

8 Counselling supervisors, counsellors, and other officers
  • (1) There shall from time to time be appointed under the State Sector Act 1988, as an officer of the Ministry of Justice, a person whose principal responsibility shall be to perform such duties as the chief executive of the Ministry of Justice may direct to facilitate the proper functioning of the Family Courts and of counselling and related services.

    (2) Without limiting subsection (1), there may from time to time be appointed under the State Sector Act 1988 such counselling supervisors, counsellors, and other officers as may be necessary to enable Family Courts to perform any function conferred on them by any enactment.

    (3) Every such counselling supervisor, counsellor, and other officer, while performing any duty under the auspices of a Family Court, shall for the purposes of the District Courts Act 1947 be an officer of that court.

    Section 8(1): amended, on 1 October 2003, pursuant to section 14(1) of the State Sector Amendment Act 2003 (2003 No 41).

    Section 8(1): amended, on 1 October 2003, pursuant to section 14(2) of the State Sector Amendment Act 2003 (2003 No 41).

    Section 8(1): amended, on 1 April 1988, pursuant to section 88(2) of the State Sector Act 1988 (1988 No 20).

    Section 8(2): amended, on 1 April 1988, pursuant to section 88(2) of the State Sector Act 1988 (1988 No 20).

9 Stationing of Judges and sittings of courts
  • (1) Each Family Court Judge shall be stationed in such town and shall sit in such court as may from time to time be determined by the Principal Family Court Judge.

    (2) Notwithstanding anything in subsection (1), the fact that a Family Court Judge sits in any particular court shall be conclusive evidence of his authority to do so, and no exercise of any jurisdiction or power by a Family Court Judge shall be questioned on the ground that he was not stationed in the town or authorised to sit in the court where he exercised the jurisdiction or power.

    (3) Subject to subsection (4), sittings of a Family Court for the dispatch of its business shall be held on such days and at such times as may be appointed by the Judge exercising the jurisdiction of the court at the place at which the sittings are held.

    (4) The days appointed for regular sittings of a Family Court shall be subject to the approval of the Principal Family Court Judge.

    (5) In exercising his powers under this section, the Principal Family Court Judge shall consult with the Chief District Court Judge.

    (6) This section shall be read subject to section 9 of the District Courts Act 1947.

    Section 9(6): inserted, on 2 September 1996, by section 3(2) of the District Courts Amendment Act 1996 (1996 No 119).

9A Duty of lawyers to promote conciliation
  • (1) A lawyer acting for a party in any proceeding in the Family Court must, so far as possible, promote conciliation.

    (2) In subsection (1), party includes a proposed party.

    Section 9A: inserted, on 31 March 2014, by section 4 of the Family Courts Amendment Act 2013 (2013 No 78).

9B Role of lawyer appointed to represent child or young person in proceedings
  • (1) The role of a lawyer who is appointed to represent a child or young person in proceedings is to—

    • (a) act for the child or young person in the proceedings in a way that the lawyer considers promotes the welfare and best interests of the child or young person:

    • (b) ensure that any views expressed by the child or young person to the lawyer on matters affecting the child or young person and relevant to the proceedings are communicated to the court:

    • (c) assist the parties to reach agreement on the matters in dispute in the proceedings to the extent to which doing so is in the best interests of the child or young person:

    • (d) provide advice to the child or young person, at a level commensurate with that child's or young person's level of understanding, about—

      • (i) any right of appeal against a decision of the court; and

      • (ii) the merits of pursuing any such appeal:

    • (e) undertake any other task required by or under any other Act.

    (2) To facilitate the role set out in subsection (1)(b), the lawyer must meet with the child or young person and, if it is appropriate to do so, ascertain the child's or young person's views on matters affecting the child or young person relevant to the proceedings.

    (3) However, subsection (2) does not apply if, because of exceptional circumstances, a Judge directs that it is inappropriate for the lawyer to meet with the child or young person.

    (4) A lawyer appointed to represent a child or young person in proceedings may—

    • (a) call any person as a witness in the proceedings:

    • (b) cross-examine witnesses called by any party to the proceedings or by the court.

    Section 9B: inserted, on 31 March 2014, by section 4 of the Family Courts Amendment Act 2013 (2013 No 78).

9C Role of lawyer appointed to assist court
  • (1) The role of a lawyer who is appointed to assist the court in proceedings is to—

    • (a) provide independent legal advice to the court on any complex factual or legal issue requested by the court:

    • (b) offer an impartial perspective in relation to any issue arising in the proceedings:

    • (c) undertake any other task required by or under any other Act.

    (2) A lawyer appointed to assist the court in proceedings may—

    • (a) call any person as a witness in the proceedings:

    • (b) cross-examine witnesses called by any party to the proceedings or by the court.

    Section 9C: inserted, on 31 March 2014, by section 4 of the Family Courts Amendment Act 2013 (2013 No 78).

10 Avoidance of unnecessary formality
  • (1) Family Court proceedings shall be conducted in such a way as to avoid unnecessary formality.

    (2) A Judge sitting in a Family Court may wear a gown, but must not wear a wig.

    (3) A lawyer appearing in a Family Court must not wear a gown or a wig.

    Section 10(2): replaced, on 18 May 2009, by section 6 of the Family Courts Amendment Act 2008 (2008 No 78).

    Section 10(3): inserted, on 18 May 2009, by section 6 of the Family Courts Amendment Act 2008 (2008 No 78).

11 Jurisdiction of Family Courts
  • (1) A Family Court shall hear and determine all such proceedings as are to be heard and determined by such a court under or by virtue of any of the provisions of—

    • (h) any other enactment for the time being in force.

    (1A) [Repealed]

    (2) Subject to subsection (3), any jurisdiction or power conferred on a Family Court under or by virtue of any enactment shall be exercised by a Family Court Judge.

    (3) Nothing in this section shall prevent a District Court, or a District Court Judge who is not a Family Court Judge, from exercising any jurisdiction or power that is vested in it or him under or by virtue of any enactment to the extent and in the manner specified in that enactment.

    Section 11(1)(c): amended, on 1 July 2005, by section 151 of the Care of Children Act 2004 (2004 No 90).

    Section 11(1)(e): replaced, on 1 February 2002, by section 64(2) of the Property (Relationships) Amendment Act 2001 (2001 No 5).

    Section 11(1)(g): replaced, on 1 July 1992, by section 247 of the Child Support Act 1991 (1991 No 142).

    Section 11(1)(ga): inserted, on 1 November 1989, by section 449 of the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act 1989 (1989 No 24).

    Section 11(1)(gb): inserted, on 1 July 1992, by section 2(1) of the Family Courts Amendment Act 1991 (1991 No 66).

    Section 11(1)(gc): inserted, on 1 July 1992, by section 2(1) of the Family Courts Amendment Act 1991 (1991 No 66).

    Section 11(1) first paragraph (gd): inserted, on 1 November 2007, by section 41 of the Wills Act 2007 (2007 No 36).

    Section 11(1) second paragraph (gd): inserted, on 20 September 2007, by section 4 of the Family Courts Amendment Act 2007 (2007 No 56).

    Section 11(1A): repealed, on 1 February 2002, by section 64(2) of the Property (Relationships) Amendment Act 2001 (2001 No 5).

11A Attendance at hearings
  • (1) Unless the Act under which proceedings are brought provides otherwise, the only persons who may attend a hearing of proceedings in a Family Court are as follows:

    • (a) officers of the court:

    • (b) parties to the proceedings:

    • (c) lawyers representing parties to the proceedings:

    • (d) witnesses:

    • (e) accredited news media reporters:

    • (f) persons whom the Family Court Judge permits to be present as support persons for a party on a request by that party:

    • (g) any other persons whom the Family Court Judge permits to be present.

    (2) The Family Court Judge must agree to a request under subsection (1)(f) unless the Judge considers there is a good reason why the named support persons should not be permitted to be present.

    (3) No support persons may help a party conduct his or her case.

    (4) If, during a hearing, the Family Court Judge requests a person of any of the following kinds to leave the courtroom, the person must do so:

    • (a) a witness:

    • (b) an accredited news media reporter:

    • (c) a support person whom the Judge permitted to be present under subsection (1)(f).

    (5) Nothing in this section limits any other power of the court—

    • (a) to hear proceedings in private; or

    • (b) to permit a McKenzie friend to be present; or

    • (c) to exclude any person from the court.

    Section 11A: inserted, on 18 May 2009, by section 7 of the Family Courts Amendment Act 2008 (2008 No 78).

11B Publication of reports of proceedings
  • (1) Any person may publish a report of proceedings in a Family Court.

    (2) Subsection (1) is subject to subsection (3).

    (3) A person may not, without the leave of the court, publish a report of proceedings in a Family Court that includes identifying information where—

    • (a) a person under the age of 18 years—

      • (i) is the subject of the proceedings; or

      • (ii) is a party to the proceedings; or

      • (iii) is an applicant in the proceedings; or

      • (iv) is referred to in the proceedings; or

    • (b) a vulnerable person—

      • (i) is the subject of the proceedings; or

      • (ii) is a party to the proceedings; or

      • (iii) is an applicant in the proceedings.

    (4) However, subsection (3) does not apply to—

    • (a) a report of proceedings in a publication that—

      • (i) is genuinely of a professional or technical nature (including a publication that is intended for circulation among members of the legal or medical professions, officers of the Public Service, psychologists, counsellors, mediators, or social workers); and

      • (ii) does not include the name of—

        • (A) any person under the age of 18 years who is the subject of the proceedings, or who is referred to in the proceedings:

        • (B) any vulnerable person who is the subject of the proceedings:

        • (C) any parties or applicants in the proceedings where subsubparagraph (A) or (B) applies:

    • (b) a publication of statistical information relating to the proceedings.

    (5) The court may grant leave under subsection (3) with or without conditions.

    (6) Every person who contravenes this section commits an offence against this Act and is liable on conviction,—

    • (a) in the case of an individual, either to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months, or to a fine not exceeding $2,000:

    • (b) in the case of a body corporate, to a fine not exceeding $10,000.

    (7) Subsection (6) does not limit the power of a court to punish any contempt of court.

    (8) This section is subject to any other enactment relating to the publication or regulation of the publication of reports or particulars of a Family Court proceeding.

    Section 11B: inserted, on 18 May 2009, by section 7 of the Family Courts Amendment Act 2008 (2008 No 78).

    Section 11B(6): amended, on 1 July 2013, by section 413 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2011 (2011 No 81).

11C Meaning of identifying information
  • (1) For the purposes of section 11B, identifying information means information relating to proceedings that includes any name or particulars likely to lead to the identification of any of the following persons:

    • (a) a party to the proceedings:

    • (b) an applicant in the proceedings:

    • (c) a person who is the subject of the proceedings:

    • (d) a person who is related to, or associated with, a person referred to in paragraphs (a) to (c) or who is, or may be, in any other way concerned in the matter to which the proceedings relate (for example, a support person for a party).

    (2) For the purposes of section 11B in relation to proceedings under the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act 1989, identifying information also includes the name or particulars likely to lead to the identification of any school that a person the subject of the proceedings is or was attending.

    Section 11C: inserted, on 18 May 2009, by section 7 of the Family Courts Amendment Act 2008 (2008 No 78).

11D Meaning of vulnerable person
  • For the purposes of section 11B, vulnerable person means—

    • (a) a person in respect of whom a Family Court has jurisdiction under Part 1 or 3 of the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988:

    • (d) a donor of an enduring power of attorney who is involved in proceedings under Part 9 of the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988:

    • (f) a person who has applied to a Family Court for the issue of a declaration under section 28 of the Births, Deaths, and Marriages Registration Act 1995:

    • (h) a person who has applied for a protection order under the Domestic Violence Act 1995, or in respect of whom a protection order has been made under that Act:

    • (i) a person whom the court considers likely for any other reason to be particularly susceptible to any adverse consequences associated with the publication of a report of the proceedings that contains identifying information.

    Section 11D: inserted, on 18 May 2009, by section 7 of the Family Courts Amendment Act 2008 (2008 No 78).

12 Proceedings to be brought and dealt with under Family Courts Rules
  • While any Family Courts Rules are in force, all proceedings in a Family Court (and all proceedings in a District Court under section 15 of this Act or section 151 of the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act 1989) must be brought and dealt with under those rules, except to the extent that the Act under which the proceedings are brought provides for them to be brought or dealt with under some other enactment.

    Section 12: replaced, on 13 September 2002, by section 4 of the Family Courts Amendment Act 2000 (2000 No 65).

12A Evidence
13 Court may state case for High Court
  • A Family Court may, on the application of any party to any proceedings before the court, or of its own motion, state a case for the opinion of the High Court on any question of law arising in any matter before the court.

14 Transfer of proceedings to High Court
  • Subject to the Act under which any proceedings are brought, a Family Court may, on the application of any party to the proceedings, or of its own motion, order that the proceedings be transferred to the High Court if it is satisfied that, because of the complexity of the proceedings or of any question in issue in the proceedings, it is expedient that the proceedings be dealt with by the High Court; and in any such case the High Court shall have the same power to adjudicate on the proceedings as the Family Court had.

15 District Courts may exercise certain jurisdiction
  • Notwithstanding anything in section 11, a District Court may—

    • (a) deal with any interlocutory matter relating to any proceedings that are being or are to be heard by a Family Court:

    • (b) hear and determine any ex parte applications relating to any such proceedings:

    • (c) by the consent of all the parties to the proceedings, make any order or exercise any power—

      • (i) that, by virtue of any enactment or rule of law, may be made or exercised by the consent of all the parties; and

      • (ii) that could have been made or exercised by a Family Court.

16 Application of District Courts Act 1947
  • (1) Subject to the succeeding provisions of this section, the District Courts Act 1947 shall apply, with any necessary modifications, to Family Courts and Family Court Judges in the same manner and to the same extent as it applies to District Courts and District Court Judges.

    (2) Where any of the provisions of this Act conflict with any of the provisions of the District Courts Act 1947, the provisions of this Act shall prevail.

    (3) Nothing in section 22 of the District Courts Act 1947 shall apply in respect of Family Court Judges or the business of Family Courts.

    (4) Nothing in sections 73 to 78 of the District Courts Act 1947 applies to Family Courts, Family Court Judges, or the business of Family Courts, except to the extent that some enactment other than that Act provides.

    Section 16(3): amended, on 2 September 1996, by section 3(3) of the District Courts Amendment Act 1996 (1996 No 119).

    Section 16(4): inserted, on 24 November 2003, by section 4 of the District Courts Amendment Act 2002 (2002 No 63).

    Section 16(4): amended, on 1 July 2013, by section 413 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2011 (2011 No 81).

16A Family Courts Rules
  • (1) The Governor-General may from time to time, by Order in Council, make rules regulating the practice and procedure of Family Courts in proceedings that the Family Court has jurisdiction to hear and determine.

    (2) Rules made under subsection (1) may—

    • (a) apply (with or without modification) specified District Courts rules to proceedings in a Family Court, or proceedings of a particular kind or description in a Family Court:

    • (b) [Repealed]

    • (c) prescribe the form and contents of documents:

    • (d) prescribe any forms that are necessary for the purposes of this Act or any specified Act, or authorise any specified person or persons to prescribe or approve forms, and require the use of such forms:

    • (e) prescribe 1 or more methods for serving documents:

    • (f) prescribe 1 or more methods for giving notice:

    • (g) provide for the transfer of proceedings between Family Courts, or between a Family Court and any other court:

    • (h) provide for the keeping, searching, and transfer of records:

    • (i) provide for any other matters in respect of which rules regulating the practice or procedure of Family Courts are contemplated or specifically authorised by this Act or a specified Act.

    (3) Subsection (2) does not limit the powers conferred by subsection (1).

    Section 16A: inserted, on 13 September 2002, by section 5 of the Family Courts Amendment Act 2000 (2000 No 65).

    Section 16A(2)(b): repealed, on 18 May 2009, by section 8 of the Family Courts Amendment Act 2008 (2008 No 78).

    Section 16A(4)(b): amended, on 24 January 2009, by section 47 of the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Amendment Act 2008 (2008 No 48).

    Section 16A(4)(da): inserted, on 26 April 2005, by section 46 of the Civil Union Act 2004 (2004 No 102).

    Section 16A(4)(i): amended, on 1 July 2005, by section 151 of the Care of Children Act 2004 (2004 No 90).

    Section 16A(4)(l): amended, on 13 September 2002, by section 64(2) of the Property (Relationships) Amendment Act 2001 (2001 No 5).

16B Regulations relating to court fees
  • (1) The Governor-General may, from time to time, by Order in Council, make regulations for all or any of the following purposes:

    • (a) prescribing fees payable in respect of proceedings, or intended proceedings, in a Family Court:

    • (b) in order to promote access to justice, empowering Registrars or Deputy Registrars of Family Courts to waive, reduce, or postpone the payment of a fee required in connection with a proceeding or an intended proceeding, or to refund, in whole or in part, such a fee that has already been paid, if satisfied on the basis of criteria specified under paragraph (c) that—

      • (i) the person otherwise responsible for payment of the fee is unable to pay or absorb the fee in whole or in part; or

      • (ii) unless 1 or more of those powers are exercised in respect of a proceeding that concerns a matter of genuine public interest, the proceeding is unlikely to be commenced or continued:

    • (c) prescribing, for the purposes of the exercise of a power under paragraph (b), the criteria—

      • (i) for assessing a person’s ability to pay a fee; and

      • (ii) for identifying proceedings that concern matters of genuine public interest:

    • (d) empowering Registrars or Deputy Registrars of Family Courts to postpone the payment of a fee pending the determination of—

      • (i) an application for the exercise of a power specified in paragraph (b); or

    • (e) providing for the postponement of the payment of a fee, including (without limitation) providing—

      • (i) for the recovery of the fee after the expiry of the period of postponement; and

      • (ii) for restrictions to apply (after the expiry of the period of postponement and so long as the fee remains unpaid) on the steps that may be taken in the proceedings in respect of which the fee is payable:

    • (f) providing for the manner in which an application for the exercise of a power specified in paragraph (b) or (d) is to be made, including, without limitation, requiring such an application to be in a form approved for the purpose by the chief executive of the Ministry of Justice.

    • (g) [Repealed]

    (2) No fee is payable for an application for the exercise of a power specified in subsection (1)(b) or (d).

    Section 16B: inserted, on 18 May 2009, by section 9 of the Family Courts Amendment Act 2008 (2008 No 78).

    Section 16B heading: amended, on 31 March 2014, by section 6(1) of the Family Courts Amendment Act 2013 (2013 No 78).

    Section 16B(1)(g): repealed, on 31 March 2014, by section 6(2) of the Family Courts Amendment Act 2013 (2013 No 78).

16C Reviews of decisions of Registrars concerning fees
  • (1) Any person who is aggrieved by a decision of a Registrar or Deputy Registrar under regulations made under section 16B(1)(b) may apply to a Family Court Judge for a review of that decision.

    (2) An application under subsection (1) may be made within—

    • (a) 20 working days after the date on which the applicant is notified of the decision of the Registrar or Deputy Registrar; or

    • (b) any further time that the Judge allows on application made for that purpose either before or after the expiration of that period.

    (3) The application may be made informally.

    (4) The review—

    • (a) must be conducted by rehearing; and

    • (b) may be dealt with on the papers, unless the Judge decides otherwise.

    (5) The Judge may confirm, modify, or reverse the decision.

    (6) No fee is payable for an application under this section.

    Section 16C: inserted, on 18 May 2009, by section 9 of the Family Courts Amendment Act 2008 (2008 No 78).

16D Regulations relating to payments to professionals
  • Fees and expenses for lawyers for child and lawyers to assist court

    (1) In subsections (2) to (5), lawyer means either of the following:

    • (a) a lawyer appointed under any of the following provisions to represent a child or young person:

      • (i) section 7 of the Care of Children Act 2004:

      • (iii) section 159 of the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act 1989:

      • (vi) section 37A of the Property (Relationships) Act 1976; or

    • (b) a lawyer appointed under any of the following provisions to assist the court:

      • (ii) section 226A of the Child Support Act 1991:

      • (iii) section 160 of the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act 1989:

      • (v) section 162A of the Family Proceedings Act 1980:

      • (vi) section 65A of the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988.

    (2) The Governor-General may, from time to time, by Order in Council, make regulations for determining—

    • (a) the fees payable to a lawyer in respect of the lawyer's appointment:

    • (b) the expenses payable to a lawyer in respect of the lawyer's appointment.

    (3) Regulations under subsection (2)(a) may—

    • (a) prescribe the maximum hourly rate or rates for the fee payable, and different rates may be prescribed depending on—

      • (i) the complexity of the proceedings:

      • (ii) the number of proceedings in which the lawyer is engaged during a specified period:

    • (b) prescribe the maximum number of hours for which the fee is payable, and different numbers of hours may be prescribed depending on—

      • (i) the complexity of the proceedings:

      • (ii) the number of proceedings in which the lawyer is engaged during a specified period:

    • (c) provide that any rate prescribed under paragraph (a), or any number of hours prescribed under paragraph (b), or both, may be increased by the court in a particular proceeding if the court is satisfied that the increase is justified because of exceptional circumstances.

    (4) If no regulations are made under subsection (2)(a) in respect of any lawyer, the fees payable to that lawyer are to be determined by the Registrar of the court.

    (5) Regulations under subsection (2)(b) may prescribe—

    • (a) the types of expenses for which a lawyer may claim reimbursement:

    • (b) the rate of reimbursement of those expenses:

    • (c) the circumstances in which expenses may be reimbursed.

    Fees and expenses for report writers under Care of Children Act 2004

    (6) In subsections (7) to (10), report writer means any of the following:

    • (a) a person who prepares a cultural report when requested to do so under section 133(2) of the Care of Children Act 2004:

    • (b) a person who prepares a medical report when requested to do so under section 133(2) of the Care of Children Act 2004:

    • (c) a person who prepares a psychiatric report when requested to do so under section 133(2) of the Care of Children Act 2004:

    • (d) a person who prepares a psychological report when requested to do so under section 133(5) of the Care of Children Act 2004.

    (7) The Governor-General may, from time to time, by Order in Council, make regulations for determining—

    • (a) the fees payable to a report writer for doing either or both of the following:

      • (i) preparing a report:

      • (ii) attending as a witness in the proceedings for which the report writer prepared the report:

    • (b) the expenses payable to a report writer for doing either or both of the following:

      • (i) preparing a report:

      • (ii) attending as a witness in the proceedings for which the report writer prepared the report.

    (8) Regulations under subsection (7)(a) may—

    • (a) prescribe the maximum hourly rate or rates for the fee payable, and different rates may be prescribed depending on—

      • (i) the type of report:

      • (ii) the complexity of the proceedings:

      • (iii) the number of proceedings in which the report-writer is engaged during a specified period:

    • (b) prescribe the maximum number of hours for which the fee is payable, and different numbers of hours may be prescribed depending on—

      • (i) the type of report:

      • (ii) the complexity of the proceedings:

      • (iii) the number of proceedings in which the report-writer is engaged during a specified period:

    • (c) provide that any rate prescribed under paragraph (a), or any number of hours prescribed under paragraph (b), or both, may be increased by the court in a particular proceeding if the court is satisfied that the increase is justified because of exceptional circumstances.

    (9) If no regulations are made under subsection (7)(a) in respect of any report writer, the fees payable to that report writer are to be determined by the Registrar of the court.

    (10) Regulations under subsection (7)(b) may prescribe the following:

    • (a) the types of expenses for which a report writer may claim reimbursement:

    • (b) the rate of reimbursement of those expenses:

    • (c) the circumstances in which expenses may be reimbursed.

    Section 16D: inserted, on 31 March 2014, by section 7 of the Family Courts Amendment Act 2013 (2013 No 78).

17 Certain enactments amended
  • (1) The enactments specified in the Schedule are hereby consequentially amended in the manner specified in that schedule.

    (2) [Repealed]

    Section 17(2): repealed, on 31 March 2014, by section 8 of the Family Courts Amendment Act 2013 (2013 No 78).

17A Repeals
  • The following provisions are repealed:

    • (d) section 195 of the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act 1989:

    • (e) section 84 of the Domestic Violence Act 1995:

    • (f) sections 4 and 5 of the Family Courts Amendment Act 2008:

    • (h) section 36 of the Property (Relationships) Act 1976:

    • (i) section 77 of the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988.

    Section 17A: inserted, on 31 March 2014, by section 9 of the Family Courts Amendment Act 2013 (2013 No 78).

18 Transitional and saving provisions
  • (1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3), all matters and proceedings commenced under any enactment before the commencement of section 11 and required by virtue of that section to be heard and determined in a Family Court, shall be continued in a Family Court.

    (2) All matters and proceedings commenced in the High Court under the Matrimonial Proceedings Act 1963 or the Guardianship Act 1968 before the commencement of section 11 and required by virtue of that section to be heard and determined in a Family Court, shall, notwithstanding that section, be continued in the High Court.

    (3) Where the hearing of any matter or proceeding referred to in subsection (1) has commenced in a District Court before the commencement of this Act, the matter or proceeding shall be continued in a District Court as if this Act had not been passed.


Schedule
Enactments amended

s 17

Acts Interpretation Act 1924 (1924 No 11) (RS Vol 1, p 7)

Amendment(s) incorporated in the Act(s).

Adoption Act 1955 (1955 No 93) (RS Vol 1, p 35)

Amendment(s) incorporated in the Act(s).

District Courts Act 1947 (1947 No 16) (RS Vol 8, p 647)

Amendment(s) incorporated in the Act(s).

Domestic Actions Act 1975 (1975 No 53)

Amendment(s) incorporated in the Act(s).

Marriage Act 1955 (1955 No 92) (RS Vol 9, p 365)

Amendment(s) incorporated in the Act(s).

Matrimonial Property Act 1976 (1976 No 166)

Amendment(s) incorporated in the Act(s).

Social Security Act 1964 (1964 No 136)

Amendment(s) incorporated in the Act(s).


Reprints notes
1 General
  • This is a reprint of the Family Courts Act 1980 that incorporates all the amendments to that Act as at the date of the last amendment to it.

2 Legal status
  • Reprints are presumed to correctly state, as at the date of the reprint, the law enacted by the principal enactment and by any amendments to that enactment. Section 18 of the Legislation Act 2012 provides that this reprint, published in electronic form, has the status of an official version under section 17 of that Act. A printed version of the reprint produced directly from this official electronic version also has official status.

3 Editorial and format changes
4 Amendments incorporated in this reprint