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Support to combine courts

Support to combine courts

Broad support for a single family court with two divisions has been shown after consultation with stakeholders, Attorney-General Robert McClelland said in speech in Melbourne on Friday.A report…

Broad support for a single family court with two divisions has been shown after consultation with stakeholders, Attorney-General Robert McClelland said in speech in Melbourne on Friday.

A report into the delivery of the Federal Courts of Family Law services was released in November and the consultation period ended last month.

Developing more efficient and streamlined processes and clearly delineating the responsibilities of the proposed two divisions also garnered support, said McClelland.

"The Report noted that tensions between the Family Court and the Federal Magistrates Court had 'distracted them from their core responsibilities,'" he said.

"Reforming family law services delivery by the Federal Courts is consistent with my desire to improve access to justice across the entire civil justice system."

McClelland said the government hoped to put in place a system which deploys both administrative and judicial resources effectively.

Meanwhile, McClelland also announced the introduction of the Family Violence Best Practice Principles as the final piece of a suite of initiatives to combat the problem.

The Principles provide a practical guideline for judges on matters they may consider when deciding the next step in a case or making final orders.

- Sarah Sharples

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