IN an unprecedented re-structure of the Australian family law system, the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and the Family Court of Australia are set to merge.
The hybrid institution will take effect from the beginning of next year and will be aptly known as the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCA).
Attorney-General Christian Porter insists that this new system will be equipped to finalise as many as 8000 more cases per year. (The Australian Financial Review)
Although there is little concrete evidence of that claim just yet, a figure approximate to the Attorney-General’s forecast would likely result in significantly decreased wait-times and access issues in the courts.
Interestingly, the change has come amidst, but separate to, the Law Reform Commission review of the Australian family law system; the final report is due to be released in March 2019.
This has led some to question why such drastic changes have been announced so long before those findings have become known.
The Attorney-General has indicated that it was simply a case of blatant necessity.
“It was a matter of such obviousness that the present structure was not working and it was causing inefficiencies and duplications and delays that we considered that we could make the structural change,” he said. (ABC Radio)
It remains to be seen whether the amalgamated court reaches the level of efficiency intended, but any initiative to assist families through the at-times arduous legal system is a welcome change.
Family law can be complex and emotionally exhausting. If you require common-sense, jargon-free legal advice, contact our expert lawyers on (02) 4902 3800.