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Significant cases published October 2022

Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia – (Division 1) Appellate Jurisdiction

Hickson & Matthew [2022] FedCFamC1A 161 (11 October 2022)

PARENTING – Appeal from orders changing the child’s residence from living with the mother to the father – Where the primary judge ordered unsupervised time with the mother despite finding of unacceptable risk for the child in the mother’s care – Adequacy of reasons – Non sequitur exists between unacceptable risk finding and order for unsupervised time with the mother – Error established – Appeal allowed – Matter remitted for re-hearing – Costs certificates granted for the appeal and re-hearing.

Todora & Todora [2022] FedCFamC1A 151 (27 September 2022)

PARENTING – Appeal from orders providing for respondent to have sole parental responsibility and allowing the respondent to return to Country B with the child – Where the mother and child were habitually living in Country B and visited Australia so that the child could spend time with the appellant – Where the appellant commenced proceedings before the appellant returned to Country B – Where the child was administratively placed on the Family Law Watchlist – Error of law – Adequacy of reasons – Where no error is established – Orders made for the child to be removed from the Family Law Watchlist – Appeal dismissed – The appellant is to pay the costs of the respondent and the Independent Children’s Lawyer in a fixed sum.

Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia – (Division 1)

Lagarde & Courbet [2022] FedCFamC1F 596 (23 September 2022)

PARENTING – Unacceptable Risk – Where the mother alleges the father sexually abused the child – Where the father denies the allegation – Where the Court finds the father does not pose an unacceptable risk of harm to the child – Where the mother has a long history of mental health issues – Where the Court finds the mother does pose an unacceptable risk of emotional and psychological harm to the child.

PARENTING – Family Violence – Where the Court finds the child was exposed to family violence on at least one occasion – Where the child is not at risk of family violence or exposure to family violence.

PARENTING – Parental Responsibility – Where the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility does not apply – Where the Court orders the child live with the father and he have sole parental responsibility.


Panelli & Panelli [2022] FedCFamC1F 652 (1 September 2022)

PARENTING  – Final parenting orders – Where mother has not spent time with children for 4.5 years – Each parent seeks orders for children to live with them – Agreement that parent with whom children live with should have sole parental responsibility – Where all children exhibit dysregulated and disturbing behaviour – Allegations of violence made by both parents – Allegations that both parents have abused the children – Abuse and risk of harm not pressed by conclusion of hearing – Where father demonstrates high resistance to children spending time with the mother – Where father’s negative views of mother have influenced children – Children extremely hostile towards and fearful of the mother – Numerous prior interim court orders for family therapy have failed – Mother proposes immediate change of residence and father to spend no time with the children for three months – Where such proposal would cause further harm and trauma – Orders made for children to live with father – Father to have sole parental responsibility – Orders for family therapy and graduated reintroduction of time with the mother.


Carr & Carr [2022] FedCFamC1F 620 (23 August 2022)

SUBPEONA – where the wife seeks leave to issue subpoena to the child’s treating physicians – where the child has not given their consent and is of an appropriate age to voice their opinion.


Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia – (Division 2)

Cording & Cording (No 2) [2022] FedCFamC2F 1229 (12 September 2022)

PARENTING – relocation interstate sought for two girls aged 8 & 6 – poor co-parenting and communication – sole parental responsibility granted to parent with capacity to promote meaningful relationship with other parent – substantial and significant time only if practicable by location – regular time if party chooses to relocate interstate away from children – prescriptive orders to reduce the risk of ongoing parental conflict – best interest of children.


Manellis & Andreou (No 3) [2022] FedCFamC2F 1281 (6 September 2022)

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – Summary dismissal – Applications to re-litigate interim parenting proceedings – Where the applications are an abuse of process – Applications summarily dismissed.


McGowan & Brennan [2022] FedCFamC2F 1082 (17 August 2022)

PARENTING – COVID-19 – Best interests – Vaccinations – Judicial notice – Where the mother seeks the father be restrained from causing the child to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus – Where the father seeks sole parental responsibility with respect to having the child vaccinated against COVID-19 – Where the child is nine years of age – Where the child has received the first dose – Where there are issues of whether judicial notice can be taken of the Government health advice – Where the mother adduced expert evidence recommending against administering the vaccine – Where there was no adversarial expert evidence from the father – Where the father is permitted to cause the child to receive all vaccinations against the COVID-19 virus – Where the mother’s application for costs is dismissed – Where the parties shall share equally in the costs of the Independent Children’s Lawyer.