Federal Circuit Court Practice Direction No 2 of 2017 – Interim Family Law Proceedings

The Chief Judge has approved a new national Practice Direction  which applies to interim family law proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court.

FCC Practice Direction No 2 of 2017_Interim Family Law Proceedings

This Practice Direction supersedes the following Information Notices:

Notice to Litigants and Practitioners – Interim Parenting Proceedings – Sydney, Newcastle and Canberra Registries;

Notice to Litigants and Practitioners – Interim Proceedings – Adelaide Registry.

 This Practice Direction commences 1 January 2018.

The Practice Direction will be available on the Federal Circuit Court’s website:

Foreign resident capital gains withholding – new simplified process for purchaser payments

Notice to Property Practitioners

Foreign resident capital gains withholding – new simplified process for purchaser payments

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is simplifying the way in which foreign resident capital gains withholding (FRCGW) payments are made.

From 11 December 2017, only one FRCGW payment is required per settlement, even if two or more purchasers are included in the transaction.

When purchasers lodge their Purchaser payment notification with the ATO, they will receive a single payment reference number (PRN). This will be sent to the person listed as the primary contact on the purchaser payment notification form. They will also be sent one payment slip with a barcode that can be used to pay the withholding tax.

Only a single payment is required to pay the total withholding amount. However, where two or more purchasers are included in the transaction, they may choose to make separate payments. In this instance, the same payment slip should be used for each payment.

Payment can be made electronically to the ATO by quoting the PRN or in person at any Australia Post outlet using the payment slip. Cheque payments can also be mailed to the ATO along with the payment slip.

Once the payment is received the primary contact purchaser will receive a payment confirmation email or letter.


More information

For more information visit the ATO website at

Memo From The President – Strategic Plan 2018-2020

It gives me great pleasure to deliver the Society’s Strategic Plan 2018-2020 a summary table of which can now be found on its website here. As part of that plan, I take this opportunity to outline some of our priorities for this year.  These are as follows but in no particular order:


  1. The development of a training package/course for legal support staff, either for those wishing to enter the workforce or those currently working.  In addition, we would be looking at further CPD events for support staff where relevant.  As an adjunct to that I am hoping that we can establish a register of trained legal support staff that can work as temps.
  2. Retention and attraction of lawyers, especially in the regional areas of the State.  A Council subcommittee has been established to review and will report on this separately.
  3. Making the profession more aware of what we are doing and communicating to the profession more effectively.  For example, by introducing our ‘Society’s Recent Activities’ webpage and considering an increased social media presence.  Leaders forum – I would also like to have a working lunch with principals representing firms to hear what they believe needs to be addressed to improve our experience of practice.
  4. Combating the encroachment of non-practitioners and non-licensed individuals doing legal work.
  5. The President gets to nominate a charity every year.  I will be supporting the Tristan Jepson Foundation and seeking to continue having firms embrace its principles.
  6. Continuing to advocate for and defend the rule of law and arguing against the cutback of government services and facilities.


This year we are resolved to continue to improve our engagement with the profession.  Engagement is a two-way initiative and I will welcome your contact regarding any concerns or issues you would like to discuss.

I wish you and your families a safe and happy holiday season and look forward to seeing you in 2018.

Will Justo


Attention Property Lawyers – Joint and Several Liability Imposed on Agents by New Legislation

The Neighbourhood Disputes About Plants Act 2017 commences this Friday, 1 December 2017.  Practitioners need to consider section 16 and in particular section 17 (consequences of failure to give purchaser copy of application or order before entry into contract) and any changes you may need to make to your client engagement letter and your firm’s best practice checklists.   In the original draft of the Bill clause 17 constituted a strict liability clause which was objected to by the Law Society.
After further discussions the Society was successful in limiting the circumstances in which liability might arise.

Circular to the profession from The Resource Management and Planning Appeals Tribunal.

Family Court of Australia – Update to prescribed brochure – Marriage, families and separation

The prescribed brochure Marriage, families and separation has been updated to include additional contact details for Family Violence support services.

The new version is available on both the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court websites and has been updated in the Commonwealth Courts Portal.