What is an appeal?

In an appeal you ask the Full Court to set aside a decision made by a Family Court judge or Federal Circuit Court judge. An appeal is not a rehearing of the original dispute. Therefore, for your appeal to succeed you must convince the Full Court that the Family Court trial judge or Federal Circuit Court judge made an error.

The appeal process in family law matters

The appeal process

Notice of Appeal must be filed in the Regional Appeal Registry within 28 days of an order made by a Family Court judge or Federal Circuit Court judge. The appellant must pay a filing fee. 

Go to the Fees section of the website for more information.

Go to the Fees section of the website for more information.

Within 28 days of filing the Notice of Appeal, the appellant must file a draft index to the appeal books. If the index is not filed within this time, the appeal is taken to be abandoned.

After the draft index is filed, the appeal is listed for a procedural hearing when orders will be made as to the preparation of the appeal for hearing and for the filing of any necessary documents (including any appeal books).

Appeals are listed for hearing before the Full Court (three judges of the Family Court). The Chief Justice may however, direct that an appeal from a Federal Circuit Court judge be heard by a single judge.

For more information about the appeals procedures in the Family Court see the publications:

Filing an appeal does not stop the order

Filing a Notice of Appeal does not automatically affect the orders made by the judicial officer (except where the order is a divorce order). This means that both you and the other party must obey the orders, even if you have filed an appeal.

If you want to stop the operation of the orders until your appeal is decided, you must file an Application in a Case to stay the orders and an affidavit. That application can only be filed after the Notice of Appeal has been filed.

The appeal process in general federal law matters

For information on the appeal process in general federal law matters, please visit the Federal Court of Australia website: http://www.fedcourt.gov.au/case-management-services/appeals/from-courts or contact a Federal Court registry: http://www.fedcourt.gov.au/contact

If you want to stop the operation of the orders until your appeal is decided, you must file an Application in a Case to stay the orders and an affidavit. That application can only be filed after the Notice of Appeal has been filed.