The Critical Incident List: what is it and what matters are eligible?

The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia has recently announced the establishment of a Critical Incident List, which is intended to urgently deal with applications where no parent is available to care for a child due to circumstances involving family violence, and court orders are necessary to facilitate an appropriate third party caring and making decisions for the subject child/ren.

Orders for parental responsibility serve a particularly important purpose when a non-parent is caring for a child. Such orders are necessary to ensure the non-parent carer can make decisions for the child which ordinarily require parental authorisation, including but not limited to school enrolments, authorising medical treatment, and lawfully accessing information in relation to the child. 

Any application sought to be dealt with in the Critical Incident List must satisfy the following criteria:

  1. The applicant is a non-parent caring for the child/ren;
  2. There is no parent available to care for the child/ren as a result of death (including homicide), critical injury or incarceration relating to or resulting from a family violence incident;
  3. The applicant is seeking orders for parental responsibility to enable appropriate arrangements to be made for the child/ren;
  4. There are no existing final family laws or state/territory child welfare orders in place which relate to the child/ren’s care arrangements with a non-parent or allocating parental responsibility of the child/ren to a non-parent.

Depending on the availability of judicial resources, matters which meet the criteria for inclusion in the Critical Incident List will be listed before a Judge in Division 1 of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia within 7 business days. At present, the Honourable Justice Brasch QC is tasked with case managing these matters on a national basis.

While the need for a list of this nature speaks to the prevalence of domestic and family violence throughout Australia, the establishment of the Critical Incident List is a step in the right direction in ensuring that families faced with such tragic circumstances are afforded priority in seeking urgent assistance of the Court.

The team at DA Family Lawyers is equipped with the expertise and experience to assist in navigating urgent family law matters, including those which may be dealt with in the Critical Incident List. Contact our office on 07 3238 5900 to arrange a consultation with one of our solicitors.

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