In Family Court proceedings, there is a process to obtain relevant documents from third parties (eg. banks, accountants, private companies etc) by way of a party issuing a Court approved subpoena. Historically, after the issuing of a subpoena, the Court scheduled a Hearing at which time the Court would determine who could inspect and copy the produced documents and on what terms. This meant additional time and costs to attend the Hearing.
As of 1 January 2019, there are no longer Hearings to determine permissions to inspect and copy documents pursuant to subpoenas unless an objection is received. On 27 December 2018 Chief Justice Thackray of the Family Court of Western Australia made practice directions for the administrative release of documents produced pursuant to a subpoena.
Each party (including an Independent Children’s Lawyer) is now entitled to inspect and take copies of subpoenaed documents without a court order if certain requirements are met as set out in Part 15.3 of the Family Law Rules 2004 (Cth).
Adam Somerville-Brown I Consultant I Accredited Family Law Specialist