IF YOU DO NOT ATTEND THE CONFERENCE THE CASE MAY BE SENT TO COURT AND ORDERS MADE IN YOUR ABSENCE.

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1 The Case Assessment Conference the first Court event This brochure provides general information and suggests ways to prepare for what will be the first Court event most people have at the Family Court after documents have been filed. This event is the Case Assessment Conference. which may follow a group Information Session. (the diagram on the next pages generally shows the different stages). IF YOU DO NOT ATTEND THE CONFERENCE THE CASE MAY BE SENT TO COURT AND ORDERS MADE IN YOUR ABSENCE. The Act, the Rules, the forms and the brochures referred to in this brochure can be obtained from the Family Court of WA website at: The forms and brochures can also be obtained from the Registry of the Court. The Case Assessment Conference how it will help The Case Assessment Conference provides parties with an early opportunity to settle their dispute with the aid of a Registrar and/or a Court Mediator/Counsellor. If one or both parties have a lawyer, the lawyers will also take part in the conference. During the Case Assessment Conference: You have the chance to try to reach an agreement. The Court will assess the main issues and facts of the case, and where appropriate recommend other services which might assist the parties to settle their dispute, such as further mediation or progression to a hearing. Where agreement is not reached the Court will explain what will happen next. The negotiations during a Case Assessment Conference are privileged. This means that you cannot tell the Judge or Magistrate what you discussed in the negotiations, except in limited circumstances. The Procedural Hearing at the conclusion of the Case Assessment Conference is not privileged. Where the case is about children the Case Assessment Conference will be chaired by a Mediator/Counsellor. Where it is financial (money and property) matters that are causing disagreement, it will be convened by a Registrar. If it concerns children s and financial matters, a Mediator/Counsellor and Registrar will convene the conference together. The Case Assessment Conference is occurring because either you or your former partner have started a case in the Family Court. This is known as filing. Family violence policy The law requires persons involved in a case to notify the Court of any current or pending Family Violence Orders involving either themselves or their children. The Family Court recognises that some people who use the Court s services may have suffered or continue to suffer family violence. Arrangements can be made for your safety. P r i v a c y The Family Court of WA treats seriously your right to privacy and information security. The Privacy Act 1988 applies when the Court When the Court collects information for purposes that are not administrative, such as to exercise its jurisdiction, other laws protect it. These include the Family Law Rules which limits access to Court files, and the Family Law Act 1975 which restricts reporting of proceedings. Should you have a problem involving family violence please call Customer Services at the Perth Registry (telephone (08) in advance of your attendance at Court.

2 The Information Session When a date is given for the Case Assessment Conference, all parties may be also directed to attend an Information Session before the Case Assessment Conference. A number of people will attend the Information Session. Quite likely this will include your former partner. If it is not appropriate that you attend the same session, please contact a Client Services Officer at the Court to discuss your concerns prior to the date of the session. The Information Session is a short general introduction. No confidential or personal issues are discussed any such questions can be discussed with the Registrar or Mediator/Counsellor during the Case Assessment Conference. The Information Session looks at: separation and common emotional experiences when relationships break down; the needs of children, and the responsibilities of parents after separation; how Family Court mediation and counselling services may help to resolve disputes and parenting skills; issues about division of property under the Family Law Act 1975 or Family Court Act 1997; how the Family Court operates and in particular, what happens on this first day at Court; and the role of lawyers and how best to use their services. The Information Session is presented by a Mediator/Counsellor and Legal Associate from the Court. will be directed to their Case Assessment Conference (or other Court event if that is what they are going to), where they will meet either the Deputy Registrar or Mediator who is convening their conference. In some registries, for example where the Court is on circuit, when and how these Information Sessions are conducted may be different. 2 A Case Assessment Conference isn t for everyone At filing some cases will not go to a Case Assessment Conference, but are placed in the Procedural Hearing list. These include cases where: there has been a Case Assessment Conference in the previous six months unless a substantial new issue has been added to the proceedings; one of the people involved is overseas; or a Case Assessment Conference cannot be allocated within a reasonable period (within 6 weeks) due to delays or staff shortages. It may be possible to participate in the conference or hearing via electronic communications, including telephone or video link. You will need to seek the Court's permission in writing, at least 7 days before the conference. Details of what to do are in the Court's brochure, Using audio and video links in the Court. Attendance of prisoners A party who is in prison may attend the Case Assessment Conference by electronic communication (video link, telephone or some other means). You will need to seek the Court's permission - in writing at least 7 days before the conference. at least 7 days before the hearing date, A party may seek permission from the Court for a party who is in prison to attend the hearing in person. Such a request must be made in writing, at least 7 days before the conference, setting out the reasons why permission should be granted, informing the Court as to whether any other party objects to the request. You must provide your request to all other parties.

3 Getting ready for the Case Assessment Conference The Case Assessment Conference is occurring because either you or your former partner have started a case in the Family Court. This is known as filing. The person who starts the case ( the Applicant ) must immediately serve upon the other person (the Respondent ) their documents filed with the Court. These documents are usually an Application for Final Orders (Form 1), and in financial cases, a Financial Statement (Form 13), and if interim orders are sought at the same time, an Application in a Case (Form 2), and any affidavits (written sworn statements) supporting the application for interim orders. The person served with the documents ( the Respondent ) must prepare a written response to the documents served. This will involve completing a Form 1A Response. If interim orders have been sought a Response to an Application in a Case (Form 2A), and an affidavit are also required. Where there are financial issues, a Financial Statement (Form 13) will be needed. These documents must then be filed with the Family Court and served upon the Applicant or their lawyer (if they have one) as soon as possible after being served the original documents, and not less than 7 days before the Conference. (To find out more about service you should obtain the Court s Service Kit). Financial cases In a property case each party must exchange with the other parties copies of the following documents at least 2 days before the first court date (Case Assessment Conference or Procedural Hearing) Rule 12.02: the party s three most recent taxation returns and assessments; any superannuation documents for each superannuation interest of the party, including: ~ the completed Superannuation Information Form; ~ for a self-managed superannuation fund, the trust deed and the last three financial statements; for a corporation (business), trust or partnership where the party has a duty of disclosure under Rule 13.04: ~ financial statements for each (including balance sheets, profit and loss accounts, depreciation schedules and taxation returns) for the three last financial years; for the party or a corporation (business), trust or partnership where the party has a duty of disclosure under Rule 13.04: ~ any Business Activity Statements for the 12 months ending immediately before the first court date; for a n y c o r p o r a t i o n, its most recent annual return, listing directors and shareholders; and the corporation s memorandum and articles of association; for any trust, the trust deed; for any partnership, the partnership agreement; a market appraisal of any item of property in which a party has an interest. You should read Rule of the Family Law Rules and the Court s brochure, Duty of disclosure. 3

4 The Case Assessment Conference what to expect The Case Assessment Conference will last about one and a half hours and will comprise these three stages: Stage 1 Assessment The Registrar and/or Mediator/ Counsellor ('the convenor') who conducts the Case Assessment Conference will: explain their role and the purpose of the conference; answer any questions; consider issues of family violence (if any) or if either person is concerned about negotiating directly with the other person; and allow each person to outline the issues and discuss the current barriers to an agreement. Exactly how this Stage is conducted depends on the issues in your particular case. But remember, the aim is to help you and your former partner reach an agreement, if at all possible. The Case Assessment Conference may be conducted with both parties separately, or together. Where there are current personal protection Orders, or where either participant does not want to be in the same room as the other person, then the convenor may conduct the Case Assessment Conference in separate rooms. HE COURT HAS SERVICES AVAILABLE IN SOME REGISTRIES FOR PEOPLE FROM CULTURALLY DIVERSE BACKGROUNDS. ASK ABOUT THESE. THE COURT HAS SERVICES AVAILABLE IN REGISTRIES FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLE. ASK ABOUT THESE. Stage 2 Negotiation The Case Assessment Conference will look at the areas of disagreement between you and your former partner. Discussions will concentrate on the facts and background issues. These are the areas that require thought when you are preparing for the Case Assessment Conference. The convenor will assist you to understand and to think about the consequences of any proposals made, guiding you and your former partner to see if you can find a solution to your differences. The convenor cannot give legal advice. It is your responsibility to seek independent legal advice before the conference. At the end of the conference, the convenor will: summarise the progress made during the conference; and make it clear what the next steps are, and what needs to be done to prepare for these. The convenor does not force a final decision upon you or the other party. Agreements are only reached with the consent of all the people involved. Where an agreement is not reached, there are various options open to you about what should happen next. For instance, further dispute resolution sessions might be proposed or, where it seems unlikely that further progress will be made, it might be proposed that the case progress directly towards a decision by a judge. This means your case will go on the path towards a Trial. Stage 3 The Procedural Hearing The Procedural Hearing is held either straight after the Case Assessment Conference or later in the day if it looks like you and your former partner may be able to reach agreement through further discussions during the day. A Registrar conducts the Procedural Hearing, with a Mediator/Counsellor usually involved if there are child issues. At the Procedural Hearing, the following may happen: any agreement reached during the Case Assessment Conference may be made into legally binding Orders of the Court; and/or orders are made setting out the next step and what must be done to prepare for this. Where there are current personal protection Orders, or where either participant does not want to be in the same room as the other person, then the Registrar may conduct the P r o c e d u r a l Hearing in separate rooms. What you can expect at the end of the day In summary, at the end of this first day in the Family Court each person involved in a Case Assessment Conference may leave with: a temporary or final agreement (often in the form of orders) reached through negotiation and mediation on the day; and/or orders made by the Registrar about the next steps in your case. 46 N O T E: IT MAY BE 6 TO 12 MONTHS BEFORE THE CASE IS FINALLY HEARD BY A JUDGE

5 Contact details CHIEF JUSTICE S CHAMBERS GPO Box 9991 ~ Melbourne, VIC 3001 CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER GPO Box 9991 ~ Canberra, ACT 2601 ADELAIDE (08) Grenfell St, Adelaide, SA 5000 ALBURY (02) Kiewa Street, Albury, NSW 2640 ALICE SPRINGS (08) Centrepoint Building, Hartley St Alice Springs, NT 0870 BRISBANE (07) North Quay, Brisbane, Qld 4000 CAIRNS (07) Grafton St, Cairns, Qld 4870 CANBERRA (02) Cnr University Ave & Childers St, Canberra, ACT 2600 DANDENONG (03) Robinson St, Dandenong, Vic 3175 DARWIN (08) Mitchell St, Darwin, NT 0800 DUBBO (02) Cnr Macquarie & Wingewarra Sts Dubbo, NSW 2830 HOBART (03) Davey St, Hobart, Tas 7000 LAUNCESTON (03) Level 3, ANZ Building, Cnr Brisbane and George Sts, Launceston, Tas 7250 LISMORE (02) Molesworth St, Lismore, NSW 2480 MELBOURNE (03) Commonwealth Law Courts, 305 William St Melbourne, Vic 3000 NEWCASTLE (02) Bolton St, Newcastle, NSW 2300 PARRAMATTA (02) George St, Parramatta, NSW 2150 ROCKHAMPTON (07) Cnr East & Fitzroy Sts, Rockhampton, Qld 4700 SYDNEY (02) Goulburn St, Sydney, NSW 2000 TOWNSVILLE (07) Walker St, Townsville, Qld 4810 WOLLONGONG (02) Burelli St, Wollongong, NSW 2500 WESTERN AUSTRALIA (08) FAMILY COURT OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA 150 Terrace Rd, Perth, WA 6000 Law societies ACT (02) NSW (02) NT (08) QLD (07) Community advisory services LEGAL AID OFFICES AND COMMISSIONS Adelaide (08) Alice Springs (08) Brisbane Burnie (03) Canberra (02) Darwin (08) Hobart (03) Launceston (03) Melbourne (03) Perth Sydney (02) Community Legal Centres ACT WOMEN S LEGAL SERVICE (02) O R toll free: NSW Redfern (02) Kingsford (02) Marrickville (02) QLD Caxton (07) SA W O M E N S L E G A L S E R V I C E (07) Noarlunga (08) Parks (08) SA (08) TAS (03) WA (08) Law Institute of VIC (03) TAS VIC WA Further information Hobart (03) Launceston (03) Western Suburbs (03) EASTERN COMMUNITY LEGAL CENTRE (03) Gosnells (08) Northern Suburbs (08) Sussex Street ( (08) If you want more information about the procedure for a Case Assessment Conference you may contact any registry of the Family Court of Australia or, if in Western Australia, the Family Court of Western Australia. Contact details are listed on this page. If you want more information on your legal rights or obligations or you wish to obtain independent legal advice, you need to contact a lawyer. If you have any difficulty obtaining independent legal advice, you might get assistance from a law society, a legal aid office or a community legal centre. Contact numbers for some of these are listed on this page. 29/03/04 BRCAC~V1 57

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