Appearance Before Inquiry into The Federal Circuit and Family Court Of Australia Bill 2019 (Cth)


The New South Wales Bar Association’s Senior Vice President, Michael McHugh SC, and the Chair of the Association’s Family Law Committee, Michael Kearney SC, appeared today before the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee’s Inquiry into the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Bill 2019 (Cth).

The Association continues to oppose the Government’s flawed merger proposal out of concern the proposal remains wholly inadequate to protect children, families and victims of family violence. These concerns are shared by more than 110 stakeholders including the Law Council of Australia, Women’s Legal Services Australia, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services, Community Legal Centres Australia and the former Chief Justice of the Family Court, Elizabeth Evatt AC.

Instead of the merger, the Association has proposed the Family Court 2.0 model which has the significant advantage of bolstering, not undermining, a stand-alone specialist court and court services. The Family Court 2.0 model involves a “lift and shift” of the Federal Circuit Court’s family law jurisdiction and judges into a new lower division within the stand-alone, specialist Family Court.

The Association’s opening statement to the inquiry is available here.

The Association’s submission can be viewed here.

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