Section 91 of the FLA empowers the Australian Attorney-General to intervene when requested to do so by the court, in the public interest, or in proceedings relating to the children. These cases are extremely rare. In an intervention, the Attorney-General has all the rights, duties and liabilities of a party.
In any proceedings that may affect the welfare of a child, the court may request the intervention of a child welfare officer, who then becomes a party to the proceedings (s 91B).
Other people with an interest in proceedings can apply to become a party to proceedings (s 92). This section is often used by grandparents.
•Intervention by the Attorney-General: The Attorney-General is able to intervene by filing a notice giving reasons for intervention and for any order that is sought. If the Attorney-General seeks to set aside a decree nisi, an affidavit must be filed setting out the facts and circumstances that have been relied upon. The notice and affidavit must be served on the other party to the proceedings. Service may be effected personally or by post.
•Intervention by other persons: Must proceed by an application stating:
– their relationship to the party or parties to the marriage;
– the reasons for intervention; and
– the orders sought.
The application must be verified by affidavit. The documents should be served on all parties who have appeared or filed address for service. (See “Service of documents”.) If the court grants leave to a party to intervene, it may give such directions as to further conduct and hearing of the proceedings as it thinks fit.