outlined previously, the Federal Circuit and Family Court fee
increases that were intended to commence on 1 July 2015 under
Schedule 2 of the Federal Courts Legislation Amendment (Fees)
Regulation 2015 were disallowed by the Senate on 25 June 2015.
Despite this, the Government has sought to again increase the
filing fees by introducing the Family Law (Fees) Amendment
(2015 Measures No. 1) Regulation 2015. The Regulation is made
under section 125 of the Family Law Act and section 120 of the
Federal Circuit Court of Australia Act, under which the
Governor-General has the authority to make regulations.
The Regulation will amend the Family Law (Fees) Regulation
Increase the full divorce fee in the Federal Circuit Court of
Australia from $845 to $1,200 ($355 increase) and the full divorce
fee in the Family Court of Australia from $1,195 to $1,200 ($5
Increase the fees for consent orders from $155 to $240 ($85
increase), and for issuing subpoenas from $55 to $125 ($70
Increase all other existing family law fee categories (by an
average of 11 per cent) except for the reduced divorce fee in the
Federal Circuit Court and Family Court, and
Establish a new fee category for the filing of amended
The Regulation has been introduced to put the Courts "on a
sustainable financial footing." The Explanatory Memorandum
stated that had the fees not increased the "only
alternatives would be to cut frontline court services, close
registries and not replace judges, which would severely undermine
access to justice."
It would also appear that the increase in fees is hoped to deter
matters which may otherwise resolve without the need for Court
intervention, thus reducing the number of filings and workload of
each Court, with the Explanatory Memorandum also stating that:
"The basis on which the amended fees are calculated is to
better reflect the cost of providing court services for private
matters where there often may be little public interest at stake,
and reinforce the message to litigants that early dispute
resolution is encouraged (where appropriate) and courts should be
considered a last resort. Full or partial waivers of fees will
continue to apply to vulnerable litigants, including reduced fees
for divorce applications."
The Regulation came into effect on 13 July 2015 and the new fees
are now applicable in all Registries.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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