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Merger of the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court likely to bring more delays to family law hearings

Catherine Henry Lawyers
Catherine Henry Lawyers

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Merger of the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court – Likely to bring more delays to family law hearings

The proposed merger of the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia has recently been passed. The Family Court will merge with the Federal Circuit Court. It is not known how and when the merger will take place or what it will mean for an already struggling family law system.

We agree with other commentators that this merger will likely lead to further delays in what is already an under resourced court system. This is something that was stressed in an open letter to the Attorney General from the Law Council of Australia, containing more than 150 signatures from organisations and stakeholders of the family law community.

The new, merged, court will be more generalised, also hearing matters outside of the family law jurisdiction. There is real concern for the safety of children and victims of family violence, and it will take even longer for the courts to hear matters.

The merger has been in the media for some time and is something that we have been closely following. The merger is part of an overall plan by the government to modernise family law in Australia and has been met with wide criticism from the legal community and other stakeholders.

The merger bill passed the lower house of parliament in late 2020. And it has been passed in the senate in February 2021. Senator Rex Patrick has given his support based upon a government promise that the new Court will have a minimum number of specialist family law judges.

If you need assistance with family law matters, our experienced Family Law team are here to help. To confidentially discuss your needs call us on 1800 874 949 or fill in the form below, and we will be in touch.

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