Notice to the Profession

Consultation - Proposal to dissolve the ACT List

14 February 2024

1. The Federal Court of Australia currently operates a List for the case management of proceedings filed in the Court's ACT Registry. Justice Kennett is the current ACT List Judge, supported by Senior National Judicial Registrar Paul Farrell.

2. Under the National Court Framework (NCF), the Court operates an individual docket system, whereby new filings are generally allocated to a Judge's individual docket and are case managed by that Judge. There are also a small number of Lists for discrete practice areas within the NCF but these are not Registry based.

3. The ACT List is the only Registry-based List of its type in the Court. Currently, matters are usually case managed in the ACT List from the time of filing until they are ready to proceed to a substantive hearing. They are then allocated to Judges who are on the ACT panel for any National Practice Areas to which they are aligned in their resident state. The ACT panel is currently comprised entirely of New South Wales Judges.

4. Duty arrangements for the ACT are combined with NSW. If there is an urgent duty matter in the ACT, it will be heard by the General or Commercial & Corporations Duty Judge in NSW who is "on duty" at the relevant time.


5. The Court is proposing to dissolve the ACT List and the role of ACT List Judge. Rather than filings in the ACT Registry being case managed through the ACT List, matters will be allocated to the docket of a Judge on the ACT panel upon filing.

6. This proposal is consistent with the Court's current management of the Northern Territory and Tasmanian registries, in which filings are allocated in accordance with the Court's protocols to South Australian and Victorian Judges respectively. This accords with the Court's individual docket system.

7. Historically, regular Directions List days were held in the ACT. Following the experiences of COVID-19, the introduction of the Electronic Court File, and improvements in technology, the Court can now efficiently and effectively facilitate online case management hearings where an in person presence is not necessary.

8. The new proposal will also mean that the case; management of each matter is carried out by the Judge who generally will be hearing the matter through to completion, so more matter specific requirements and efficient timeframes can be built into case management orders by the Judge who will eventually decide the case.

9. The proposal will also benefit the ACT profession by providing practitioners with earlier exposure to a wider range of Federal Court Judges.

10. It is not proposed to change the current duty arrangements for the ACT.


11. The ACT profession is invited to provide feedback on the proposal to end the ACT List. Feedback may be sent by email by Wednesday 28 February 2024 to Senior National Judicial Registrar Paul Farrell at

12. The Chief Justice will discuss the proposal and the feedback with representatives of the ACT Bar and Law Society when her Honour meets with them in her visit to Canberra on Tuesday 5 March 2024.

13. Following the consultation process, the Court anticipates reaching a final view on the ACT List by the end of March 2024. The outcome will be communicated shortly thereafter.

Chief Justice Mortimer
14 February 2024