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Wollongong case to be heard in Brisbane due to judge shortage

The members of a Wollongong family locked in an ongoing dispute are attending a court in Queensland to avoid protracted delays.

user iconFelicity Nelson 18 January 2016 The Bar
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The case, which involves a custody battle and property dispute, now has a trial date in Brisbane.

Solicitor Hayley Williams, a partner at Hansons Lawyers Wollongong who is representing one of the people involved in the dispute, told ABC News that moving a case to another state was “very unusual”.


"I think it may be unprecedented,” she said.

"I would like to implore the government to seriously consider the issue of funding the family courts – this is extremely important, I just can't stress that enough."

Delays in the Federal Circuit Court are a result of the government’s failure to replace retiring judges, according to the Law Council of Australia.

Ms Williams said registries in Sydney and Brisbane had been approached and this was the earliest date a judge could hear matters relating to the case.  

She said her client would have to cover the costs of moving the case to Brisbane.

"We can always instruct an agent in Brisbane but the lawyers in Brisbane are quite expensive and also they don't have the same knowledge and history as we do having carriage of the matter for years and years, it's going to be a very expensive exercise for our client."

Last year Attorney-General George Brandis said two vacant judge positions on Federal Circuit Court would be filled, but this has not yet occurred.

A spokesperson for Senator Brandis said: "The appointment of a judge to a federal court is an important decision to which the Government gives careful consideration.”

In November the government appointed five new judges for the Federal Court and Federal Circuit Court.

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