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FAMILY LAW ACT 1975 - SECT 97

Procedure

             (1)  Subject to this Act, to the regulations and to the applicable Rules of Court, all proceedings in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia or in a court of a Territory (other than the Northern Territory) when exercising jurisdiction under this Act, shall be heard in open court.

       (1AA)  For the purposes of subsection (1), the circumstances in which a proceeding in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia, or in a court of a Territory (other than the Northern Territory) when exercising jurisdiction under this Act, is heard in open court include where the proceeding is made accessible to the public by way of video link, audio link or other appropriate means.

          (1A)  The regulations and the applicable Rules of Court may authorise proceedings to be heard by:

                     (a)  in the case of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1)--a Judge, the Chief Executive Officer, or a Senior Registrar or Registrar of the Court, sitting in Chambers; and

                     (b)  in the case of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2)--a Judge, the Chief Executive Officer, or a Senior Registrar or Registrar of the Court, sitting in Chambers; and

                     (c)  in any other case--a Judge, Registrar or magistrate sitting in Chambers.

             (2)  In any proceedings in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia, or in another court when exercising jurisdiction under this Act, the court may, of its own motion or on the application of a party to the proceedings, make one or more of the following orders:

                     (a)  an order that a specified person is not, or specified persons are not, to be present in court during the proceedings or during a specified part of the proceedings;

                     (b)  an order that persons included in a specified class of persons are not to be present in court during the proceedings or during a specified part of the proceedings;

                     (c)  an order that only the parties to the proceedings, their legal representatives and such other persons (if any) as are specified by the court may be present in court during the proceedings or during a specified part of the proceedings.

          (2A)  For the purposes of subsection (2), a person is taken to be present in court during a proceeding if the person accesses the proceeding by way of video link, audio link or any other means.

             (3)  In proceedings under this Act, the court shall proceed without undue formality and shall endeavour to ensure that the proceedings are not protracted.



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