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Family Law in Canberra – Law Society president pushing for reforms – Daily Liberal

By May 20, 2015No Comments

By Faye Wheeler

A push to reduce two-year waits for child custody hearings at Dubbo continues and concerned members have been urged to add their voices to lobbying efforts.

President of the Law Society of NSW John Eades reported representations were “actively being made, regularly being made” to increase funding for the Federal Circuit Court.

He said an injection in cash for the court that provides services in the family law jurisdiction would allow it “to travel more often as a true circuit court” to meet the needs of regional areas.

In November the federal Attorney- General’s Department said the Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court was responsible for allocating the court’s resources appropriately to meet the workloads in different registries and that the Attorney-General was carefully considering all available options for any administrative and structural reform to address long-term financial sustainability of the federal courts.

Mr Eades, who was admitted in 1969 and became president on January 1, raised the issue while in Dubbo as the Council of the Law Society held its May meeting in the regional city.

Earlier in the week Orana Law Society president and member of the council Andrew Boog said he expected waits until at least 2017 for child custody hearings in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and the Family Court of Australia to be a topic of discussion in informal talks during the visit.

Mr Eades, partner in a Griffith-based firm, said the matter was a concern.

“The services that court provides in the family law jurisdiction (are) absolutely vital in enabling people to resolve their difficulties when they can’t do it themselves,” he said.

“And because of financial constraints in other actions the courts aren’t coming here sufficiently frequently and that is a concern.

“If it takes 18 months, two years to have a child’s case resolved, the implications for the family are enormous.”

He and others in the profession were trying to bring the matter to the attention of those in Canberra.

“(Representations) are actively being made, regularly being made, not only at my level but also at the federal level through the Law Council of Australia,” Mr Eades said.

“The answer usually comes back it’s a question of budget constraint.”

He was persisting and encouraged the concerned community members to join the campaign.

“Further representations should be made to your federal member and to the attorney-general,” he said.

“That is where the decisions ultimately are made for the resourcing of the court.

“Representations to your local member, particularly in the bush, can be very effective.”

Mr Eades said Dubbo was “reasonably well serviced by the state courts” and he was keenly anticipating his visit to the city after arriving on Thursday.

“It’s a delight to be back into this community,” he said on Friday. “I have been here once or twice in the past and I’m looking forward to the visit today and tomorrow.”



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