Ebene News – UA – Controversial Family Court Merger Bill to Come True

Despite the concerns of key legal scholars and associations, the government will move forward with the proposed merger of the Family Court with the Federal Circuit Court after receiving the support it needed from an independent senator

After promising that the government will guarantee a minimum number of judges specializing in family law, Senator Rex Patrick gave his support for a merger which should become a reality by the end of the week Although the legislation has already been debated, the final vote confirming the change will come later

The merger will continue despite strong criticism from major legal bodies and legal professionals, including former Chief Justices, the Honorable Elizabeth Evatt AC and the Honorable Alastair Nicholson AO RFD QC These are just two of the 157 signatories who signed a letter opposing the upcoming legislation

At the end of last year, when the merger was again debated in government, Ms Evatt said it would lead to “undesirable outcomes for children and families”

“The merger of the family court into a generalist court will compromise the integrity and structural specialization of the family court The impact of the loss of this institutional specialization is not well understood and has been downplayed”, she declared

In response to both the letter and the decision to go ahead with the merger, Australian Bar Association (ABA) President Matthew Howard SC has confirmed that the member body is always against change and feared that this would have a positive impact on the problems facing the family law system ”

“As the ABA has previously pointed out, Australia’s family court has been under-resourced for many years and before dismantling the court, one needs to carefully consider the value of maintaining a specialized tribunal with adequate resources ”, declared Mr. Howard said

The merger would mean family law issues will have to go to the Federal Circuit Court and, while it aims to streamline the process, it could instead lead families into more deadlocks and delays The court is already grappling with the lack of resources to handle family law issues alongside its issues of migration, admiralty, administration, consumption, human rights, privacy and more

M Howard said the ABA would support steps taken to address the “practical” challenges faced in family law jurisdiction, including adequate resources, an implementation of harmonized rules and forms between the Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court and the simplification of Part VII of the Family Law Act

“The ABA considers the main problem with the family law system to be one of chronic lack of resources and the ‘proposed merger’ does not solve the problems that necessarily stem from this lack of resources,” said declared M Howard

Since the legislation was introduced in 2019, legal bodies across Australia have repeatedly called on the government to drop the plan The NSW Bar said in December last year that it would not would only increase the workload of judges

“The legal profession is the only stakeholder that stands to gain from the merger, with the additional delays, costs and confusion it will create,” said President Michael McHugh SC “We remain opposed because this is not in the best interest of families “

Family court

Ebene News – UA – Controversial Family Court merger bill set to become reality

Source: https://www.lawyersweekly.com.au/biglaw/30679-controversial-family-court-merger-bill-set-to-become-reality