Before someone can commence Family Court proceedings for Orders regarding parenting arrangements they must obtain a certificate from a registered Family Dispute Resolution Provider regarding mediation.
This certificate is known as a “Section 60I Certificate” — because of the section of the Family Law Act that sets out the requirements for it.
In the recent decision of Ellwood and Ravenhill Justice Kent looked at the requirement to obtain a Section 60I Certificate.
In that matter the father had commenced proceedings in October 2018 — attaching a certificate from April 2017. The mother filed a response seeking that the father’s Application be dismissed because that certificate was over 12 months old (which is not allowed under the Act).
The father then tried to argue that he did not need to provide a certificate because the mother had allegedly refused to participate in mediation; there are exemptions for why mediation did not take place and refusal to participate by a party is one of them.
On appeal Justice Kent found in favour of the mother. His Honour found that the Court “must not hear an application … unless the applicant files in the court a certificate…”. His Honour continued that a FDRP can provide a certificate that says that one party refused to participate but such a certificate must be obtained.
Justice Kent concluded that the father’s Application had to be dismissed.
In light of Covid-19 providers are changing the method of delivery of section 60I certificates but the requirement remains.