Full Court Minute Books

Case P6/2021

Charisteas v. Charisteas & Ors

Case No.


Case Information

Lower Court Judgment

10/07/2020 Family Court of Australia (Alstergren CJ, Strickland and Ryan JJ)

[2020] FamCAFC 162


Family law – Appeals – Apprehension of bias – Where parties involved in protracted proceedings since 2008, including two trials in Family Court of Western Australia where orders were set aside by Full Court of Family Court of Australia – Where primary judge in third trial engaged in undisclosed communication and personal contact with then-counsel for respondent prior to commencement of trial and after judgment reserved but before judgment delivered –Where fact but not full details of communication subsequently dis closed after applicant became aware of relationship between primary judge and respondent counsel – Where applicant unsuccessfully applied to have judge recused and unsuccessfully appealed to Full Court – Where Full Court held hypothetical observer would not have reasonable apprehension of bias because would accept judge may have mistaken views about proprietary of private communications after judgment reserved but before judgment delivered and would tolerate some amount of private communication – Whether hypothetical observer would have reasonable apprehension of bias from failure to disclose communications between primary judge and respondent counsel.

Family law – Practice and procedure – Powers under s 79 of Family Court Act 1975 (Cth) (“Act”) – Where, in 2011 trial judgment, primary judge made final orders under s 79 – Where some orders set aside without remitter by 2013 appeal to Full Court – Where primary judge in third trial made 2015 interlocutory interpretation decision that power to make orders under s 79 not exhausted – Where primary judge made orders in 2017 varying 2011 orders – Where Full Court held primary judge had power to vary or set aside2011 orders – Whether, when orders made in exercise of statutory power and some set aside on appeal without remittal or rehearing, power under s 79 is exhausted – Whether primary judge acting in excess of jurisdiction – Whether applicant waived right to challenge exercise of power because did not appeal 2015 interpretation decision.


12/02/2021 Hearing (SLA, Canberra)

26/02/2021 Notice of appeal

16/04/2021 Written submissions (Appellant)

16/04/2021 Chronology (Appellant)

14/05/2021 Written submissions (First respondent)

02/09/2021 Amended Reply

17/06/2021 Written submissions (Fourth respondent)

03/09/2021 Hearing (Full Court, Canberra and by video connection)

02/09/2021 Outline of oral argument (Appellant)

03/09/2021 Outline of oral argument (First respondent)

06/10/2021 Judgment (Judgment summary)