New scheme to support family law cross-examination ban

New scheme to support family law cross-examination ban

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

The Family Law Act 1975 has been amended to ban direct cross examination in cases where there is family violence.

The changes will apply to hearings that occur from 11 September 2019 onwards. The purpose of the change is to protect victims of family violence by requiring cross examination to be conducted by a legal representative, either a privately retained lawyer or one funded through a new Commonwealth scheme.   

The Commonwealth Family Violence and Cross-examination of Parties Scheme is funded by the Commonwealth Government and will be administered in Victoria by Victoria Legal Aid (VLA).

The circumstances under which the ban applies are set out in new section 102NA of the Family Law Act.

Where the ban applies, the court will make an order banning personal cross examination and provide a notice attached to the order setting out the implications of the ban and some information about the scheme.

The notice will include the options of unrepresented parties retaining private legal representation or making an application to receive legal representation under the scheme.

Information for practitioners

A party will need to apply directly to VLA for legal assistance under the scheme and once approved, VLA will allocate the matter to a family law panel practitioner.

Funding under the scheme will be limited to preparation for and representation at any hearing where personal cross examination may occur and the ban applies.

Funding for legal representation under the Scheme will be available at the current Legal Aid fee scale.

More information

Read the answers to some common questions about the Commonwealth Family Violence and Cross-examination of Parties Scheme.

See the information issued by the Attorney-General’s Department.

If you require more information please email AssignmentsFamily@vla.vic.gov.au

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