1. Introduction

    1. This Special Measures Information Note (SMIN-2) sets out arrangements for the operation of subpoena inspections in the Melbourne and Dandenong registries.
    2. Given the easing of restrictions in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic in Victoria, the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court (the Courts) have modified the electronic subpoena inspection process.
    3. Attendance at Registry buildings for inspection of ‘inspection only’ material will be permitted for matters of an urgent or priority nature as and from 30 November 2020 as set out below.
    4. The cooperation of all court users and court staff is required in this regard.
    5. This Special Measures Information Note takes effect from the date it is issued and, to the extent practicable, applies to all proceedings filed before, or after, the date of issuing.
    6. This Special Measures Information Note remains in effect until and unless superseded or revoked , and supersedes SMIN-2 issued on 21 August 2020.
  2. Registry operations
    1. In order to reduce the amount of staff, practitioners and litigants travelling to the Melbourne and Dandenong Registries, the Courts have put in place a modified structure to facilitate the inspection of subpoenaed material for parties and practitioners with a trial between December and the end of February 2021, which may be extended or reviewed.
    2. This process will apply to parties and practitioners who are seeking the inspection of information which is of an urgent or priority nature.
  3. Requesting access to material
    1. When requesting access to material which is of an urgent or priority nature, parties and practitioners must provide the following information in their request:
      1. file number;
      2. date and type of court hearing;
      3. specific material requesting access to, and whether it is ‘inspect only’ material (as defined in rule 15.30(2)(b) of the Family Law Rules 2004 or rule 15A.13(2)(b) of the Federal Circuit Court Rules 2001);
      4. confirmation that a Notice of Request to Inspect has been filed;
      5. a clarification of how the request is of an urgent or priority nature, and why; and 
      6. a copy of photo identification (such as a current driver’s licence or passport) or confirmation that you are a lawyer acting on behalf of a party, and the law firm at which you work.
    2. Requests should be made by email to melbourne@familycourt.gov.au for Melbourne requests, or dandenong@familycourt.gov.au for Dandenong requests.
  4. ‘Photocopy access’ material
    1. If the information is not ‘inspection only’, and ‘photocopy access’ is permitted, it will be emailed directly to the party or practitioner requesting the material, where onsite staff have the capacity to email these documents.
    2. Consideration will be given to the volume of the material relevant to such requests and whether any practical or technical difficulties arise for large volume requests.
  5. ‘Inspection only’material
    1. If the subpoenaed material is ‘inspection only’, a Registry officer will respond to the requesting party’s email to arrange an appointment for inspection of the material produced.
    2. Appointments will be subject to availability and parties and practitioners must comply with any directions given regarding COVID-Safe procedures in relation to attending the appointment.


DATE: 21 AUGUST 2020