Fee for Dispute Resolution Conferences at Family Law Courts

Fee for Dispute Resolution Conferences at Family Law Courts

Monday, 15 February 2021

The Family Law Courts will be commencing court ordered Alternative Dispute Resolution Conferences in February 2021, known as Dispute Resolution Conferences (DRC).

The Family Law Courts are introducing these new conferences to assist families to resolve parenting matters with the assistance of a Registrar and a Family Consultant.

We are pleased to support this new initiative which provides help to more separating couples to resolve their disputes sooner.

From February 2021, we will be providing an appearance fee for practitioners to appear at DRCs. This is on the basis that VLA will fund either participation in a Dispute Resolution Conference or a litigation intervention Family Dispute Resolution Service (FDRS) but not both.

The fee will be available for DRCs until VLA reaches a cap of 50 matters or six months, whichever occurs first. We will communicate with the Court and the profession when the cap is close to being reached. We will monitor the pilot provision of an interim fee for DRCs and when the cap is reached, we will evaluate the effectiveness of our funding for DRCs and consider ongoing funding for the conferences.

Interim fees for Dispute Resolution Conference

The fees available for a DRC will be:

  •  a preparation fee $196 (payable only once per matter)
  •  an appearance fee $784 (payable only once per matter)
  •  an adjournment fee $196 (payable only once and in the event that the conference does not proceed)
  • distance fee (where applicable).

The fee will not include preparation of consent orders as Orders can be made on the day by the Court.

VLA will also not fund stage 1 of the conference process, which is an intake session for parties, and it is not compulsory for lawyers to attend. If a practitioner chooses to attend this would occur as part of the practitioner’s preparation fee for the conference.

How to apply

Practitioners will be able to apply for a DRC grant via the extension template ‘Simplified process – FDRS and Stage 2’, and selecting ‘Family Law Dispute Resolution Conference Pilot’ under the professional costs section.   

More information

If you have any questions about the DRCs fees, please contact grants@vla.vic.gov.au

Read more about the Family Law Courts’ dispute resolution conferences.

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