Crisis in courts, legal aid a focus of Family Law Conference
More than 1000 family lawyers gathered today in Melbourne for the commencement of the National Family Law Conference.
The conference opened with addresses by Family Court of Australia Chief Justice Diana Bryant AO; Federal Circuit Court of Australia Chief Judge John Pascoe AC CVO; Commonwealth Attorney-General the Hon George Brandis QC and Chair of the Law Council of Australia’s Family Law Section Wendy Kayler-Thomson.
Law Council of Australia President, Stuart Clark AM, said the need for greater funding for the Family Court, Federal Circuit Court, Family Court of Western Australia and legal aid was made abundantly clear during the morning’s session.
“The Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court and the Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia made strikingly compelling cases about the need for greater resourcing to the family law system,” Mr Clark said.
“We welcome the Attorney-General’s release at the conference of the highly anticipated Family Law Council’s final report: Families with complex needs and the intersection of the family law and child protection systems.”
Ms Kayler-Thomson told the conference this morning that it is not an exaggeration to say that our family law court system is in crisis.
“Access to justice is not just a slogan. A properly functioning justice system is essential in a civilised society. For too long, successive governments, from both sides of politics, have tinkered with the edges of family law funding,” Ms Kayler-Thomson said.
“At the same time the jurisdiction of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia in family law has dramatically increased, and the workloads and demands upon all three of our courts has become overwhelming.
“The proper funding of our justice system also means a properly funded legal aid system.
“What we need is action, and that, more than anything, means an urgent injection of funding into the court system,” Ms Kayler-Thomson said.
Patrick Pantano: Public Affairs Anil Lambert: Media