find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Future of Federal Magistrates Court a vexed issue

Future of Federal Magistrates Court a vexed issue

The Opposition has slammed the Government's proposed integration of the Federal Magistrates Court into the Family Court."This decision is a grave mistake," shadow Attorney-General George Brandis…

The Opposition has slammed the Government's proposed integration of the Federal Magistrates Court into the Family Court.

"This decision is a grave mistake," shadow Attorney-General George Brandis told the Senate on Wednesday. "In our view, if the Rudd Government proceeds with its plan to abolish the Federal Magistrates Court, and drive all family law cases into the more expensive Family Court, the result will be increased costs, longer delays and less accessible justice."

Controversially, Brandis also accused members of the Family Court of bias in their support of the Government's implementation of the Semple Review recommendations.

"The Family Court is strongly in favour of it - and one cannot help but detect more than a whiff of judicial empire-building in the Family Court's eagerness to take over most of the Federal Magistrates Court."

Brandis's comments follow last week's announcement of the abolition of the Federal Magistrates Court by the Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland, and the subsequent allocation of court funding in the Federal Budget.

However, Sydney-based family law specialist John Quinn, of John R Quinn & Co, sided with the Government on the issue, agreeing with McClelland's comments that the current system created confusion for litigants and additional work for family lawyers.

"Litigants have no idea why they should be in this court or that court, and you have different processes in the family court to the processes in the Federal Magistrates Court," says Quinn.

"It's a matter of pure logic that [the restructure] will stop some duplication. As I say, a lot of the work is done by the same person whether they are the registrar in the Federal Magistrates court or the Family Court or whatever - it's the same person doing the same job."

Quinn said the more pressing issue was the shortage of judges, particularly given the recent enactment of the new de-facto relationships legislation. "The problem is the delay getting to a final hearing. You can move the deckchairs around the Titanic, but at the end of the day you need more people judging cases so that these things can get through faster."

-- Laura MacIntyre

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Future of Federal Magistrates Court a vexed issue
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice, ALA, right-to-die law
Oct 24 2017
‘Right-to-die’ laws would be a relief for terminally ill: ALA
The passage of an assisted dying bill through the lower house of Victorian Parliament has been haile...
Diversity
Oct 24 2017
Diversity top of agenda for future WA Law Society president
The advancement of diversity in the Western Australian legal profession will be one of the key items...
Jetski
Oct 23 2017
How to fail well
The legal profession is due for an attitude adjustment when it comes to perceived failures, accordin...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...