Abolishing Family Court may make backlog worst
THE state's barristers have launched a stinging attack on the Turnbull government's plans to abolish the Family Court of Australia, warning the move could exacerbate an already crippling backlog of 21,000 child custody and property disputes.
NSW Bar Association president Arthur Moses SC has joined a growing chorus of critics who oppose the move to amalgamate the Family Court of Australia with the Federal Circuit Court into a new entity without specialist judges.
"Australians should not be forced to put their families' futures into the hands of a general purpose court already juggling increased migration and caseloads if there is another way forward," Mr Moses said.
"It seems rather odd that you would collapse into (the new entity) all of the most complex Family Court matters, which are the most important matters that our court system deals with - the care of children and relationship issues."
In a discussion paper exclusively obtained by The Daily Telegraph, the association argues the proposed restructure could increase pressures and delays already affecting the family law system where the average case takes at least 17 months before getting to trial.
Under the proposed restructure, family cases will also be competing to be heard alongside an increasing number of migration and industrial relations matters of federal jurisdiction.
Mr Moses argued the creation of single, specialised Family Law Court of Australia 2.0 with "proper funding and resource commitment from government" would be a better alternative.
In May this year Attorney-General Christian Porter announced plans to form a Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia which he said would allow up to 8000 extra cases to be resolved each year, ending a confusing system which shuffled matters between two jurisdictions.