Pre-action Procedures

Also known as PAPs

In Australia, subject to various exceptions, it is now a legal requirement that parties engage in ADR before they can commence or progress family law court proceedings.

The requirement to engage in ADR, is enshrined in the requirement of the parties to engage in the pre-action procedures before commencing or progressing Family Court proceedings. 

The PAPs apply to both financial and child-related proceedings, although the requirements of the PAPs are different in each case. 

If parties have not engaged in the PAPs, then courts may refuse a parties’ right to commence or progress proceedings.  According to some family law commentators, parties’ rights to obtain access to justice have been curtailed by the requirement to engage in PAPs.  However, in practice there is no need for the PAPs to restrict parties to having access to justice, as there are a number of exceptions that may be invoked if the circumstances of the case permit.