FCFCOA launches specialist services for Indigenous families in court

The Specialist Indigenous List aims to provide safe and efficient access to justice for all

FCFCOA launches specialist services for Indigenous families in court

The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCOA Division 1 and Division 2) have launched a Specialist Indigenous List operating from the Newcastle registry in NSW.

The Specialist Indigenous List was named Wonai Nganka Kanan, meaning "children or child first" in the local Awabakal language. The list is operational from October 30 and aims to provide safe, fair, efficient and relevant access to justice for all Australians.

An inaugural welcome to country and traditional ceremony were held in Newcastle, commemorating the commencement of the Specialist Indigenous List. The event aimed to acknowledge the ongoing efforts in Newcastle and NSW to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families involved in family law proceedings.

Chief Justice Alstergren AO said that the commencement of the Specialist Indigenous List in Newcastle demonstrates the courts' practical commitment to improving access to justice for First Nations Australians. The chief justice encouraged the courts to consider the needs of the First Nations people and ensure they do all they can to gain their confidence and trust.

"Today marks an opportunity to show our ongoing commitment to listen and learn from the local community about ways that we can be innovative and responsive and to deliver tangible and localised action that will better meet the particular needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parties and children that live in this area of regional NSW," the chief justice said.

Senior judicial registrar Amy McGowan will lead the Specialist Indigenous List in Newcastle in consultation with local judges. It features a modified case management process tailored to enhance access to the courts for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander litigants.

The courts' Indigenous Family Liaison Officer (IFLO) based in Newcastle will support Indigenous litigants throughout the court case management process. The officer focuses on empowering families to navigate the family law system while maintaining cultural identity through connections to family, local community, and culturally appropriate services.

David Pringle, the courts' chief executive officer and principal registrar, commended the efforts of everyone involved in establishing the Newcastle Specialist Indigenous List. He stated, "The courts will continue to devote time and resources towards expanding not just our Specialist Indigenous Lists nationally, but also our IFLO cohort and other important initiatives more broadly."

The Newcastle Specialist Indigenous List is part of a broader initiative to enhance access to justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, with 11 IFLOs currently based across various locations in Australia.

Recent articles & video

Thomson Geer partner on the biggest impact of the Bruce Lehrmann defamation ruling

Federal Court rules in ASIC's favour against Cigno Australia, BSF Solutions

Senior appointments strengthen CBP offerings

Legal orgs team up to aid community legal centres

HSF environment, planning and communities group partners with CEIG on report

New metric developed to assess socioeconomic challenges of US law school applicants

Most Read Articles

NSW Supreme Court sets trial date for landmark strip search class action

K&L Gates Advises Centuria on acquisition of massive glasshouse in Victoria

Hall & Wilcox assists Tobii Dynavox to acquire Link Assistive for $13m

Pearce IP's AU litigation head shares the most important lesson she learned from her old job