Bar Association joins LCA criticism of family law merger timetable


Law reform and public affairs

President Arthur Moses SC has issued a media statement in support of the Law Council of Australia and the Law Society of NSW in expressing concern at the inadequate time for consultation and scrutiny of the bills to merge the Federal Circuit Court and the Family Court.

Last Thursday the Senate referred these bills to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee for report due 15 April 2019 to enable the Parliament to carefully examine and consider the detail of this proposed reform with the benefit of having received the Australian Law Reform Commission’s review of the family law system in March 2019 and with the opportunity to engage in meaningful consultation with the Australian community including the legal profession.

"I concur with the views expressed by the Law Council and the Law Society. The Senate was very clear in its resolution last week. The purpose of it was to provide for proper consultation with the community and all relevant stakeholders about draft legislation which has the potential to deal with the most important decisions confronting the Court – the care and protection of children as well as dealing with the ramifications of breakdowns in relationships", Mr Moses said.

"There should be no indecent haste to attempt to ram through the Parliament proposed legislation that should be carefully considered and assessed based on evidence. A short consultation period is, in essence, a consultation period without meaning. The Senate and the community should not be disrespected in this way”, he said.

The Law Council has issued a media release expressing "significant concerns about the proposal to merge the courts and a three-week deadline to scrutinise the bills would short-change a court system already at breaking point". View the Law Council media release here.

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