Tips For First Appearances

Perpetrators Can No Longer Cross-Examine the Victim

Changes to the Family Law Act commenced on 11 March 2019 that will affect proceedings from 11 September 2019.

The amendments prohibit personal cross-examination in family law proceedings where there is an allegation of family violence between two parties and any of the following circumstances apply:

  • either party has been convicted of, or is charged with, an offence involving violence, or a threat of violence, to the other party
  • a family violence order (other than an interim order) applies to both parties
  • an injunction under sections 68B or 114 for the personal protection of either party is directed against the other party, or
  • the court makes an order that the mandatory requirements apply to the cross examination.

When the ban applies, cross examination of both parties must be conducted by a lawyer. Parties will need to hire a private lawyer or apply to their relevant state or territory legal aid commission for legal representation under the Commonwealth Family Violence and Cross examination of Parties Scheme.

Read the AG Department Information Sheet here. 

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