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Law Reform Commission Review Into Family Law

The Federal Attorney General, George Brandis announced in October 2017 a review into the Family Law System. Mr Brandis described the review as ‘necessary and long overdue’, “the review of the family law system will be broad and far reaching, focusing on key areas of importance to Australian families.”

The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) is not expected to return its report until March 2019. This is still many months away and even further away before any action is taken and implemented following the release of the report.

Most family lawyers, commentators and other support service workers have welcomed the review, and many stating inadequate funding was a major problem.

There is a general lack of funding in the system for front line support workers and other support services who offer tailored immediate assistance to men, women and children leaving relationships, especially violent relationships. The current lack of funding has resulted in many families having little choice other than to wait up to three years for a final trial, with the ongoing uncertainty and insecurity until it is resolved. This is no way to live for children and parents going through the Courts system.

Further comments from Mr Brandis include, the review is to “include ensuring the family law system prioritises the best interests of children, best addresses family violence and child abuse, and supports families, including those with complex needs, to resolve their family law disputes quickly and safely while minimising the financial burden.”

Some of the comments or hopes for the review include:

  • Hoping cost-cutting will not dominate the review;
  • Stopping alleged perpetrators of family violence being able to question/cross examine the victims in court proceedings;
  • More funding for support services.

In the 2017 Federal Budget around $80million was allocated to the family law system.

If you require advice about family law issues, contact one of our family lawyers.

Image Credit – Undrey ©

Written by Natasha Heathcote on March 28, 2018

Natasha has a strong passion for family law, and believes that the law can be used to achieve positive resolutions for her clients. When working with clients, Natasha shows compassion and first seeks to understand what is important to her clients, then looks for legal solutions that will best suit them. View Natasha's profile

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