Correct the record on court merger: ABA

By Grace Ormsby|11 September 2018

The Australian Bar Association is seeking a correction statement from federal Attorney-General Christian Porter MP, after comments he made to the media regarding the drafting of legislation for the merging of the Federal Circuit Court and Family Court of Australia.

The original statement from Mr Porter, provided to The Australian newspaper, said “two key stakeholders, the Law Council of Australia and Australian Bar Association, had been provided with early drafts of the legislation in mid-July to allow them time to consider it.”

In his capacity as president of the Australian Bar Association (ABA), Mr Noel Hutley SC said “the ABA wishes to correct the record.”

The correction request has been issued “to accurately illustrate the consultation limitations imposed upon the ABA in consideration of such important legislation,” according to a statement.

“The ABA was provided with just over two clear days to consider the draft Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Bill 2018 comprising in excess of 600 pages,” he continued.

“That consultation was confidential and limited to myself, the chair of the ABA’s Family Law Committee, Dr Jacoba Brasch QC and the chief executive officer of the ABA, Ms Cindy Penrose.”

“The Attorney-General was informed, that the ABA could not present a consensus position due to the restrictive terms of the consultation, preventing it consulting with the ABA Council or its expert Family Law Committee.”

The ABA statement also said it informed the A-G that “whilst the ABA provided comment regarding the family law aspects proposed in the bill and the schedules, that the ABA could not be sure with certainty that all issues were addressed and reserved its position in respect of the version of the bill when made public.”

It comes after the Law Council of Australia’s recent public criticism of the compressed three-week public scrutiny period

Correct the record on court merger: ABA
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