By Michael Giles
THERE’S a crisis in the Family Court system.
New figures from the Productivity Commission show delays across the family law system are reaching alarming levels, according to the Law Council of Australia.
Statistics in the ‘Report on Government Services’, released last week, reveal the backlog of family law cases between 2012-13 and 2018-19:
• In the Family Court up by 34 per cent; and
• In the Federal Circuit Court up by 63 per cent (although this figure is somewhat misleading as it also includes a growing number of immigration cases).
Law Council of Australia President Pauline Wright said a real concern was the increase in the number of cases more than a year-old waiting to be heard.
The number of non-appeal matters in the Family Court that have been in the system more than 24 months has increased dramatically – by 44 percent over the last year. In the Federal Circuit Court, the number of cases over 12 months awaiting hearing has increased by 17 per cent.
“Justice delayed is justice denied, particularly when some of these cases involve some of the most vulnerable in our community and allegations of domestic violence. An urgent injection of funds into the family law system is required,” Ms Wright said.
The Family Court and Federal Court, which hears Family Law matters, is the responsibility of the Morrison Government, the Attorney General Christian Porter and locally, our Federal MP Russell Broadbent.
It’s not a new problem but it is a big problem, often with the future of children and families at stake.
Distractions such as leadership squabbles, other self-interest matters, and at the risk of being criticised by the mob, the heat generated by the Climate Change debate force these important issues to the backburner.
When was the last time you heard an MP calling for extra funding and reforms to the Family Law system?
Pauline Hanson is one who adopted an insensitive approach to part of the problem but at least she’s talking about it.
What about our local MPs?
Russell Broadbent, Greg Hunt and Darren Chester; are you happy with the state of the Family Court and Federal Court in Australia? Well, let’s hear you state doing something about it.
The general population may be oblivious to these issues, but if ever you get caught up in the system you’ll realise what a dire problem it is for many families and individuals with the legal profession the only ones benefitting.