The Family Law Council advises and makes recommendations to the Attorney-General about:
- the workings of the Family Law Act and other legislation relating to family law
- the working of legal aid in relation to family law
- any other matters relating to family law.
The council can provide advice and recommendations either of its own motion or at the request of the
Attorney-General. This may be in the form of a letter of advice or as a report. The council also makes submissions to relevant bodies on issues relating to family law.
The Family Law Council does not provide legal advice for the general public on their individual family law issues.
The council includes a chairperson and usually eight to ten members who are appointed by the Attorney-General in consultation with the Prime Minister and Cabinet. All are part-time members.
Members must include a judge of the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court. It may also include other judges, lawyers, social workers, relationship counsellors, Australian Government and state employees and others.
It has been the policy of successive governments that council membership encompasses equity and diversity in gender, race and where possible, ensures that all states and territories are represented.
There are no provisions in the Family Law Act relating to the appointment of observers. However, the council currently has observers who may attend meetings. Observers play an important part in the management of the council’s workload.
A full list of council members and observers can be found on the Members and observers page.
The council usually meets in capital cities around Australia.
Minutes of council meetings are available below:
- Meeting minutes for June 2016 held in Canberra [PDF 36KB]
- Meeting minutes for June 2016 held in Canberra [DOCX 61KB
- Meeting minutes for May 2016 held in Melbourne [PDF 32KB]
- Meeting minutes for May 2016 held in Melbourne [DOCX 59KB]
- Meeting minutes for Feb 2016 held in Sydney [PDF 35KB]
- Meeting minutes for Feb 2016 held in Sydney [DOCX 59KB]
The council is a statutory authority established under section 115 of the Family Law Act 1975. It commenced operation in November 1976.
The council is required to provide an annual report to the Attorney-General after 30 June each year. Annual reports can be found on the Family Law Council annual reports page.
The council is an agency subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) and is required to comply with the requirements of the FOI Act relating to the Information Publication Scheme (IPS). The council has prepared its IPS Agency Plan in accordance with subsection 8(1) of the FOI Act.