Family Court, Federal Circuit Court and Magellan List

Follow this procedure when responding to requests from the Family Court, Federal Circuit Court or matters on the Magellan list of the Family Court. 

Introduction

Under the Family Law Act 1975, a report or request may be made to child protection by the court in the following circumstances:

  • the court requests the intervention in the proceedings of an officer of the appropriate state child welfare department (which is the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services in Victoria)
  • an interested person/party to the proceedings makes a report
  • a court registrar, a family consultant, a family counsellor, a family dispute resolution practitioner or arbitrator or an independent children’s lawyer makes a report
  • an order from Family Court or Federal Circuit Court of Australia directs the department to provide information and/or documents
  • by the Magellan program. 

Refer to relevant sections of the Family Law Act and obtain advice from a departmental solicitor or court officer if you need to clarify requirements.

See Family Court, Federal Circuit Court and Magellan list – advice for additional information.

Procedure

Case practitioner tasks

  • Register the report in CRIS as an intake report with reporter source as either the Family Court of Australia or Federal Circuit Court of Australia and select the appropriate intake type.
  • Contact the court registry that is responsible for the matter to obtain additional information that may not be in the report, including if the child or family are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. Refer to Identifying Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children - for child protection practitioners (pdf, 68.5 KB) for direction.
  • Advise the registry of the relevant court in writing if there are Children’s Court orders and/or proceedings listed.

If proceedings are on foot in both jurisdictions, the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court will adjourn the proceedings before that court pending a final determination being made in the Children’s Court.

  • If there is an independent children’s lawyer appointed, contact the child’s legal representative to obtain additional information that may not be in the report.
  • Consult with your supervisor and make a recommendation within three days of the date of the report, and obtain team manager endorsement for:
    • report classification
    • phase outcome.
  • Record a new report from the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court regarding a current case via new allegation as either a familial or non-familial allegation.
  • Do not register a 69ZW order as a new report in CRIS. Register the document on TRIM and attach the response to the closed file.
  • Consult with your supervisor and the CPLO to consider the option of appearing as 'friend of the court' or to intervene as a party in family law proceedings.
  • Seek endorsement from your team manager if seeking to appear as a ‘friend of the court’.
  • Seek endorsement from the the child protection operations manager to intervene as a party in proceedings.
  • Respond to the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court in writing explaining the outcome of the report, which will be either:
    • no investigation will be undertaken
    • investigation will be undertaken and a response provided by date specified
    • child protection will appear as amicus curiae also known as a 'friend of the court', or
    • child protection will seek leave to become party to the proceedings.
  • If no investigation will be undertaken, when endorsed, prepare the case for closure or transfer:
    • Ensure records are complete and correct including client details, associated people, involved agencies and professionals and date of next family law hearing.
    • Record the rationale for decisions
    • Complete the phase outcome.
    • Move case to closure phase or transfer the case to the appropriate team for investigation.

Allocated practitioner tasks

  • Conduct the investigation according to the Investigation procedures.
  • Submit a written response by the next listed court date (or request for further time) to the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court. Explain the outcome of the report, for example:
    • that an investigation has concluded that the concerns are substantiated or not substantiated, and that information is held which may be of interest to the court
    • a protection application has been made
    • child protection will appear as amicus curiae also known as a 'friend of the court', or
    • child protection will seek leave to become party to the proceedings (consult with the CPLO and seek endorsement from the child protection operations manager before proposing this option).
  • Where insufficient time has been allowed by the court to complete an investigation, that is, less than three weeks, or the matter is complex and requires further assessment, write to the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court outlining the fact that the assessment is incomplete and indicating the date that information will be available.

Allocated practitioner tasks for Magellan list cases

  • See the Family Court website for more about the Magellan program.
  • Conduct the investigation according to the Investigation procedures.
  • Provide feedback to the Family Court for Magellan list matters within five weeks of the report in the form of a formal court report that includes:
    • actions taken by the department
    • the risk assessment and the rationale for the assessment
  • If you need more time to complete the investigation of a Magellan list report, consult your supervisor and the independent children’s lawyer before seeking an adjournment from the Magellan registrar.

Supervisor tasks

  • Provide ongoing supervision and consultation.

Team manager tasks

  • Endorse key decisions including:
    • appearance as ‘friend of the court’
    • classification of reports
    • significant decision points
    • endorsement of written response to the court
    • case closure
    • case transfer.

Child protection operations manager tasks

  • Endorse decision to seek leave to become a party to the proceedings.
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