Below is your second excerpt from the 35th edition of the Australian Family Law Act 1975 with Regulations and Rules book.
Service of Subpoenas
Amendments to the Family Law Rules have been made which follow on from the 2015 amendments in the Family Law Amendments (Arbitration & Other Measures) Rules 2015. The 2015 amendments introduced a process for the administrative release of documents produced pursuant to Subpoenas to Produce Documents issued in the Family Court.
The process is streamlined by providing that the manner of service of subpoenas for production can be by ordinary service rather than by hand. This distinction means that personal delivery to the named person is no longer required. Also, the amendments expressly allow for an alternative method of service of subpoenas for production to be agreed upon between the issuing party, each other party and each interested person. In practice, even before the amendments, the issuing party and the person being served sometimes agreed on a manner of service being different to that provided for in the Rules. The new rule, perhaps, makes the process of varying the method of service unnecessarily complex as the issuing party must now obtain the consent of each other party as well as the named person being served. The costs saved in using an alternative method of service agreed upon by the named person might be outweighed by the communications necessary to obtain consent from each other party.
The requirement to file an Affidavit of Service before filing a Notice of Request to Inspect in relation to subpoenas to produce documents has been removed. Complying with the Rules regarding service is, however, still necessary. In practice, compliance is now confirmed by the solicitor indicating this on the Notice of Request to Inspect.
Trial Management Hearing
The term ‘‘first day of trial’’ has been replaced by ‘‘trial management hearing’’. This makes it easier to explain the court processes to clients. The process itself has not changed, but the trial management hearing is more clearly identified as a separate date with a different purpose than the trial itself.
The purpose of the trial management hearing is set out in r 6.08(1) of the Family Law Rules as:
(a) for the presiding Judge, with the assistance of the parties and their legal representatives, to discuss and identify the orders sought and issues in dispute between the parties arising from the applications before the court; and
- in the ordinary course, to hear and determine any interlocutory issues or interim applications that are outstanding on the date of the trial management hearing, or to make appropriate arrangements for the determination of those applications; and
- in a parenting case — to receive evidence, including from the family consultant in the case; and
- in a financial case — to consider the balance sheet; and
- to consider and determine a plan for the trial.
If evidence is taken at the trial management hearing, the Judge who presided at the trial management hearing must also preside at the trial.
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