The Family Law Section (FLS) of the Law Council of Australia (LCA) has announced its support of the proposed changes to the Family Law Act under the draft Family Violence Bill released this week.
Having taken a number of steps over the years to raise awareness of family violence, the FLS has been working closely with the government and other agencies to explore innovative and practical ways to address the issue of family violence.
Over the coming weeks, the FLS said it will consider in detail the Family Violence Bill and the proposed legislative amendments to the Family Law Act.
"On initial review, the FLS is pleased the draft bill removes the mandatory costs order provision in section 117AB of the Family Law Act," said chair of the FLS Geoff Sinclair.
"The current provision makes it more difficult for genuine victims of violence to present their case without fear of costs orders being made against them if they are not believed."
In a submission to a 2006 Senate Inquiry, the FLS argued that section 117AB was more likely to ferment dispute between the parties and distract them from the real issue of children's welfare by focusing on arguments about whether statements are, or are not, false and that this encouraged parties to litigate rather than focus on resolving the dispute.
"The FLS looks forward to continuing to work with the government to ensure any amendments to the Family Law Act serve to strengthen the system."