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LIV opposes Family and Federal Court Merger Bill

LIV opposes Family and Federal Court Merger Bill

By LIV Media

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The Law Institute of Victoria has joined the chorus of legal organisations opposing the proposed merger of the specialist Family Court with the Federal Circuit Court.

LIV Family Law Section chair Nicky Neville-Jones said the Bill, currently before Federal Parliament, was significantly flawed, and would have negative implications for Australian families, including the vulnerable, children and victims of family violence.

Ms Neville-Jones said the Bill proposed a “quick fix” which would not work. She said the Bill required further consultation and should not be rushed through.

“While we agree that the system is broken and that reform is needed, we do not agree that the Merger Bill is the quick fix required, particularly in circumstances where a detailed ALRC Report has also now been released since the introduction of the Bill that needs careful consideration before any major reforms are carried out, as well as further consultation with stakeholders.

“Ultimately the Federal Government should listen to the various bodies against the Bill including the LCA before moving forward with something that has the capacity to cause more delay and negative implications for the vulnerable who greatly benefit from a specialist judiciary,” Ms Neville-Jones said.

The “Court Merger Bill” was introduced in 2018 with an aim to tackle the significant delays in the family law system but without initial consultation with stakeholders.

One of the main concerns with the Bill is that we will lose our specialist Family Court of Australia and its specialist judiciary due to the structural reform the Bill delivers.

Since the introduction of the Bill in 2018, LIV has produced a number of submissions communicating our members concerns, including our recent submission to the Senate, Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee on 15 May 2020.

The Bill is opposed by legal groups including the Law Council of Australia, Women’s Legal Services Australia, Community Legal Centres Australia and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services.


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