When you're unhappy with a decision in relation to your
family law matter, there can be a strong temptation to appeal.
However, rules relating to appeals in the Family Court and the
Federal Circuit Court require more than a desire to have part of a
matter reheard – you must establish that a significant legal
or factual error was made by the judge that justifies bringing the
matter back before the court.
The 2016 Family Court judgment made in the matter of Foster
& Foster highlights two very important principles when
appealing the decision of a family law judge, namely:
It is important that your reasons for appeal are clear and
You are unlikely to be granted an appeal if your issues with
the hearing are connected with your conduct at trial.
In this matter, the trial judge reasoned that the assets held by
the husband and the wife were to be divided equally. Following the
decision, the husband provided the court with 19 reasons why the
decision should be appealed. These reasons largely pointed to his
legal representation, the provision of documents throughout the
course of the trial, and accusations of judicial bias. The issue in
this matter was not the filing of an appeal, but the merit behind
it. The full court noted that during the hearing of this matter,
the husband failed to disclose financial information, gave
generally unreliable evidence, and failed to comply with various
procedural rules. In these circumstances he was unable to highlight
any error that was made, and relied largely on accusations against
the court and his legal representation.
It is important to note despite the fact that the appeal in this
matter was dismissed, all grounds appealed by the husband were
considered by the court.
All parties to a family court proceeding have 28 days after
Orders have been made for their case to submit documentation
alerting the court to an intention to appeal.
If you are in a situation where you think you need to appeal a
court decision, it's important that you ensure that you have a
clear understanding of the legal or factual errors that you feel
need to be reviewed.
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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