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Law Council welcomes court restructure

Law Council welcomes court restructure

The Law Council has welcomed the proposed overhaul of the Federal, Magistrates and Family courts.

Following news yesterday that the Federal Magistrates Court will be scrapped, and its cases and administration divided between the Family Court and the Federal Court as part of a comprehensive cost cutting measure by the federal government, the Law Council of Australia said the proposed restructure will be more “coherent”. 

“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,” Law Council president John Corcoran said.

Corcoran said: “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.”

“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,” he said.

In previous submissions to the Government, the Law Council has stressed that any change should focus on what is best for the community.  

“Any new system must be based on providing the services which those using the family law courts really need, and delivering these services in the most effective way."

Corcoran said the Law Council strongly encouraged the use of primary dispute resolution services available outside the court system, but that the family law courts provide a vital resource for those unable to resolve issues arising from the breakdown of family relationships through non-court based interventions.

“Yesterday’s announcement will provide better outcomes for Australian families and children who require the support of the court system.  These parties need a court system which is efficient, timely, cost-effective, flexible, accessible and adequately resourced,” he said.

Corcoran said the Law Council looks forward to further consultation with the Government and the courts regarding the practical aspects of implementing the proposed restructure.



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