Has the four step approach in Hickey & Hickey been applied since Bevan & Bevan and the ‘common’ approach clarified by the Court in determining s 79 property proceedings under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) following Bevan & Bevan ?
In February 2014, Forrest J indicated in McClusky & McClusky): 
“Furthermore, neither party submitted that the Court’s determination of appropriate orders dividing the property of the parties or either of them in a manner that the Court considers just and equitable should not be undertaken pursuant to the four step process that has been authoritatively accepted as the generally appropriate method for doing so. The continued use of this approach to “illuminate the path” to determining the just and equitable orders to be made does not, in my view, offend any of the reasoning in Stanford. I consider that the Full Court accepted as much in Bevan & Bevan  FamCAFC 116. I intend to follow that four step process.”
Again in February 2014, Berman J stated in Todd & Todd: 
“The adoption of the above [four step] approach is not intended to presuppose a positive answer to the question posed by Section 79 (2), nor to suggest that it is an approach appropriate in all proceedings. Rather, and provided that the fundamental proposition outlined by the High Court in Stanford (2012) 293 ALR 70… are not obscured, such approach is intended to and does no more than provide a principled, disciplined and structured means by which all of the matters arising for consideration pursuant to Section 79 can be conveniently and properly identified and assessed.
Further, and whilst not said critically nor in a matter which seeks to cavil with the decisions in this Appeal, no other approach to the determination emerges readily from either Stanford nor the decision in this Appeal. It is respectfully submitted that provided that the “fundamental propositions” articulated in Stanford are not obscured, and whilst not universally so as has always been recognised, the approach set out above continues to provide a proper, transparent, certain and structured approach to the presentation and determination of applications pursuant to Section 79.”
In March 2014, Altobelli J affirmed the four step approach in Adamson & Adamson:
“In Bevan & Bevan  FamCAFC 116 the Full Court of the Family Court of Australia considered the Hugh Court’s decision in Stanford & Stanford  HCA 52 which provided guidance on how s.79 was to be interpreted and implemented. Bevan endorsed the continuing application of the four-step approach articulated by the Full Court in Hickey & Hickey & Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Australia  FamCA 395, but on the basis that it is a shorthand distillation of the words of s.79, as opposed to being a statutory edict.”
Until a decision is made by the Full Court to definitively define the ‘common approach’ in the determination of property division in s 79 proceedings, there will continue to be uncertainty for practitioners. Suffice to say, it appears that the developing view following Bevan & Bevan is the four step approach outlined in Hickey & Hickey.  is still applicable.
Secondly, is there a threshold issue of ‘justice and equity’ pursuant to s 75(2) that needs to be undertaken, as a threshold issue, prior to a consideration of s79(4) and 75 Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)?
Recently, Johnston J in Whinton & Whinton: 
“In our view, it will be less likely that the separate issues arising under s 79(2) and s 79(4) will be conflated if judges refrain from evaluating contributions and other relevant factors in percentage or monetary terms until they have first determined that it would be just and equitable to make an order. “
It is respectfully submitted, that the Court cannot properly address the question of “justice and equity” prior to a consideration of the identification and valuation of property, contributions and future needs pursuant to s 79(4) and s 75(2) Family Law Act 1975 (Cth). This approach does not suggest that “justice and equity’ is to be confined to the last stage, however, it should not be treated as a threshold issue either, as Bryant CJ and Thackray J make it clear in Bevan that the section 79(2) question is not to be so approached:
“The third “fundamental proposition” demands separate consideration of the preliminary question of whether it is just and equitable to make any order altering property interests before the need arises to consider the extent to which existing interests are to be altered and the manner in which that is to be done.
As we have noted, in many cases the preliminary question is effectively answered in the affirmative by the way the parties present their cases. Nevertheless, it is still necessary for it to be shown that the trial judge has expressly, or by clear implication, answered that question in the affirmative before making an order altering existing interests in property.
We do not consider it helpful, and indeed it is misleading, to describe this separate enquiry as a “threshold” issue. We say this for two reasons. First, as was emphasised in Stanford, the initial enquiry is to determine the existing legal and equitable interests of the parties. Secondly, although s79(2) is cast in the negative and amounts to a prohibition against making any order unless it is just and equitable to do so, the corollary is that if the court does make an order, such order itself must be just and equitable: Woollams & Woollams  FCWA 32; (2004) FLC 93-195 per Thackray J at  and Teal v Teal  FamCAFC 120 per Finn, Boland and Dawe JJ at . The just and equitable requirement is therefore not a threshold issue, but rather one permeating the entire process.”
Until there is a definitive, ‘common approach’ determined by the Full Court in s 79 proceedings the included cases providing guidance for practitioners in the interim.
  FLC 93-143 at 
  FamCA 116
  FamCA 93 at 
  FamCA 101 at [16-17]
 (2014) FCCA 73 at 
  FamCA 102 at