Self-represented litigants

  • Indigenous Action Plan Family Court of Australia 2014-16.
    Open via Family Court of Australia website

    This Indigenous Action Plan 2014–2016 aims to address the following identified barriers that exist for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders when accessing the Family Court of Australia:

    • a lack of understanding about the family law system among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients
    • resistance to engagement with, and even fear of, family law system services
    • literacy and language barriers
    • a need for indigenous specific and culturally competent mainstream services
    • the challenges arising from lengthy and multi-step Court processes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients
    • the setting being based on Western notions of child-rearing, kinship and family, and concerns as to whether they operated in a culturally safe way; and
    • lack of access to services for communities in regional and remote areas.
  • Multicultural Plan 2013-15: Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia.
    Open via Family Court of Australia website
    Open via Federal Circuit Court of Australia website

    In addition to the minimum obligations set out in the Multicultural Access and Equity Policy, the courts have developed actions in response to the recommendations made by the Family Law Council in their 2012 report, Improving The Family Law System for Clients from Culturally And Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds in focus areas including:

    • Community education/ legal literacy —recognises need for information about the law to be disseminated to culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
    • Building cultural competence —includes capacity-building strategies within the service system, including cultural competency
    • Enhancing service integration —includes maintaining and building collaboration within and between agencies to identify and address issues relating to cultural diversity, through publicising good practice, sharing information, coordinating programs and collaborating on projects
    • Enhancing the use of interpreters —strategies to ensure the use adequate and competent interpreting services
  • Reconciliation Action Plan 2014-2016: Federal Circuit Court of Australia.
    Open via Federal Circuit Court of Australia website
    This document explains the jurisdiction of the Court, including is family law jurisdiction, and the Court’s aspirations for engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) people. A key focus is on formulating ways to assist ATSI litigants to better understand the nature of the Court’s role, how it decides parenting arrangements for children in separating families and how the Court processes work. It is noted that the Family Law Act requires the Court to consider family violence issues when making decisions about children and to protect children and parents who are victims of family violence. The Act also requires the Court to consider a child’s ATSI heritage and that their children have a right to know and enjoy their ATSI heritage.
  • Self Represented Litigants Handbooks (2018).
    Open via Family Court of Western Australia website

    These handbooks are published by the Family Court of Western Australia and include information about property and children’s cases.

    These booklets are designed to help those people who do not have a lawyer to present their cases in the Family Court of Western Australia.

    They are not a substitute for legal advice, but it is hoped the information provided will make it easier for people to navigate through the court system.

    It is expected that each party who does not have a lawyer will have tried their best to become familiar with the booklets before coming to Court.

    Both handbooks contain practical advice for self-represented litigants in the Family Court of Western Australia about matters including: information about the court; preparing for trial; trial processes; filing documents and the relevant law.