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Family Courts’ Response Measures to COVID-19 continuing in 2021

The Joint Practice Direction issued on 31 March 2020 and updated on 3 August 2020 continues to apply to all family law applications filed in the Family Court of Australia or in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia (“the Courts”).   The practice direction was a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and any optimism for revocation again seems uncertain after the closures of state and territory borders in late December 2020.


  1. Legal practitioners must e-file or e-lodge all documents.
  2. The inspection of documents produced by way of subpoena at Court registries is by appointment only.
  3. Affidavits, financial statements and consent orders may be signed electronically by the deponent and/or the lawyer on the record for that party, including by having the person signing the document type their name in the relevant space in the signature block in lieu of physically signing the document. This is subject to the deponent of the document being made available by telephone or videoconference or in person, at a subsequent court event, to swear or affirm that the contents of the document are true and correct to the best of their knowledge, information and belief.
  4. Affidavits in relation to divorces still need to be sworn or affirmed in the presence of a qualified person such as a lawyer or Justice of the Peace.

We will keep you informed of any changes to this practice direction as this New Year progresses.

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