Many know that the family law courts are overflowing with matters and many of those matters relate to family violence and abuse, neglect, or harm coming to children.
Some may not know that the majority of all family law matters that go to Court start off in the Federal Circuit Court. This Court (originally named The Federal Magistrates Court) was formed in 1999 to deal with less complex cases and take the burden off the Family Court at the time. Whilst this has occurred, now the Federal Circuit Court of Australia is experiencing the same problems.
This along with different rules, Court forms and procedures has made navigating the Federal Circuit Court for families and legal practitioners difficult at times leading many to call for a combined Court again.
On 17 February 2021 a Bill was brought and passed in the Senate (Federal Circuit Court and Family Court of Australia Bill 2019) effectively merging the two Courts. This is seen as a positive move forward by some so that all family matters are dealt with in the one place.
However some criticise the Bill as it may be seen to lessen the specialisation of the Court as it will still deal with other federal matters not related to family law.
Perhaps the two Court system could have been abolished leaving the stand-alone Family Court again and the further resources of additional Judges specialising in family law only could have solved both of these problems.
Time will tell. There will now be two divisions of the Court; level one dealing with the more complex matters that the Family Court dealt with and level two with the less complex matter the Federal Circuit Court dealt with.
There will now be common leadership and management of the two separate Courts which should help everyone who deals with the Court on an administrative level.
Time will tell if the case management of the family law system will improve and more resources and Judges can help families who need them urgently.
As practitioners ourselves, we hope so for our sake and for our client’s sake who come to us to assist them in some of the darkest times in their lives.
If we can be of assistance, please contact our experienced Brisbane family lawyers team at James Noble Law today for expert advice from experienced Brisbane solicitors for a FREE 20-minute consultation.
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