By Eliza Panckridge

20 September 2022

On 3 June 2022, the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia announced the introduction of the Critical Incident List which allows the Court to make arrangements for children during a time of crisis.

What is the Critical Incident List?

The Critical Incident List (“the List”) is a specialised, fast-tracked list within the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (“FCFCOA”).

The List was developed to make urgent arrangements for children where no parent is available due to death, critical injury or incarceration relating to family violence.

The List commenced on 6 June 2022 and is managed nationally by a specialist Judge of the FCFCOA, Justice Jacoba Brasch.


Why do we need a Critical Incident List?

The List was established after consultation between the FCFCOA’s Family Violence Committee and the Queensland Homicide Victims Support Group.

It was recommended as a way for people to have faster access to a court hearing in sudden, emergency circumstances where children are left without a parent to care for them.

In these circumstances, the FCFCOA can make orders allowing non-parent carers (including but not limited to grandparents, family members and guardians/carers) to make arrangements for a child or children. Orders for parental responsibility can be made, which allows non-parent carers to make decisions about children’s living arrangements, health, wellbeing and schooling. These decisions are necessary to ensure children are properly cared for.


Who can apply to the Critical Incident List?

To make an application to have a matter heard in the Critical Incident List, the following must apply:

  1. You are a non-parent caring for the child/ren;
  1. There is no parent available to care for the child/ren because of death (including homicide and suicide, critical injury or incarceration relating to a family violence event.
  1. You are seeking orders for parental responsibility for the child/ren (this may or may not include you seeking orders that the child/ren live with you); and
  1. There are no existing final family law orders or state/territory child welfare orders relating to children’s arrangements.


How does the Critical Incident List work?

To make an application to the List,  you need to file an Initiating Application (or Application in a Proceeding if there are already proceedings on foot), Affidavit in support and Notice of Child Abuse, Family violence or Risk form. Your Affidavit must set out how the application meets the List criteria.

You do not need to comply with pre-action procedures, such as participating in mediation and filing certain certificates on the basis that the application is urgent.

Once an application to the List is made, it is considered by the National Assessment Team. If the criteria for the List are met, the application will be allocated a hearing date within seven (7) business days.

If the application does not meet the criteria for the List, it will be referred for hearing by a Registrar, Judicial Registrar or Judge within the usual timeframe. If you have any questions in relation to the above or wish to make or respond to an application in the Critical Incident List, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the TLFC family law team on (03) 8600 9333 and we will be happy to assist you.



The above does not constitute legal advice, but is information which may be of general interest. Tisher Liner FC Law will not be held liable or responsible for any claim, which is made as a result of any person relying upon the information contained in this publication.

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