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Farewell to Federal Magistrates
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Farewell to Federal Magistrates

The Federal Government has announced an overhaul of the Federal Court system which will see the Federal Magistrates Court merge with the Family Court and the Federal Court. Attorney-General…

The Federal Government has announced an overhaul of the Federal Court system which will see the Federal Magistrates Court merge with the Family Court and the Federal Court.

Attorney-General Robert McClelland said that the restructure would improve the efficiency of the Court system and remove confusion about the jurisdiction of each of the courts over family law matters.

"Ensuring the courts are structured and administered to deliver an efficient and cost-effective service to the Australian community is a key element in improving access to justice," McClelland said.

"The reforms will effectively create a one-stop-shop in family and other federal law matters, ensuring an integrated and accessible system that focuses on dispute resolution," he said.

The Government projects that the restructure will produce savings of $7.8 million over four years by reducing duplicated administration costs.

The restructure follows the recommendations of the November 2008 Government report, Future Governance Options for Federal Family Law Courts in Australia.

Law Council President John Corcoran has welcomed the move to a single family court.

"We have consistently supported the integration of the Family Court and the Federal Magistrates Court into a single, coherent structure with a common pool of resources delivering family law services," he said.

"The current arrangements, with two separate Courts exercising largely identical jurisdiction but with separate administrations and being forced to compete for funds and resources, are unacceptable. Rationalisation and integration of the two courts exercising family law jurisdiction is long overdue.

The South Australian Courts have also been subject to budget cuts this week, click here for the full story

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