Family Court Merger An ‘Enormous Challenge’

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The new Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia has described the upcoming merger of the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court as an enormous challenge.

William Alstergren, formerly chief judge of the Federal Circuit Court, was sworn in as Chief Justice of the Family Court on Monday at a ceremony in Melbourne.

Chief Justice Alstergren will oversee the merging of the courts, which currently both exercise family law jurisdiction, from early next year.

The Attorney-General Christian Porter announced the major court reform in May this year.

It will be the most significant change to court system in 40 years. Its aim is to reduce the heavy costs and delays experienced by many people who go through the family law system to resolve disputes.

“It will be really important that the court merger lives up to its promise,” says Hayder Shkara, a Sydney-based family lawyer, “so the new Chief Justice is quite right in calling it a challenge.”

At his swearing-in ceremony, which was attended by the Attorney-General, Chief Justice of the High Court Susan Kiefel and other senior judges, Chief Justice Alstergren spoke about how the effects of the delays, complications and high financial costs most negatively influence the children of families involved in court cases.

He called for support for the reform from the legal profession, the government and the opposition.

Since Mr Porter’s announcement earlier in the year, the proposed court merger has attracted significant criticism, including from legal practitioners and former judges.

The family law court reform will be put into action through legislation, which is currently before the Senate after the bill was passed by the House of Representatives. The Family Court and Federal Circuit Court are due to be merged in January 2019.

At present, approximately 22,000 family law cases are filed each year, with many families waiting for over a year and a half to get to trial.

About Justice Family Lawyers

Justice Family Lawyers is Sydney based and provides expert advice on all aspects of Australian family law. Legal assistance and representation on matters relating to divorce, family mediation, de facto relationships, domestic violence, separation, child custody, property settlement and going to court.

Contact Info:
Name: Mr Hayder Shkara
Organization: Justice Family Lawyers
Address: Level 2 255 Castlereagh St, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia
Phone: +61-2-8089-3148
Website: https://justicefamilylawyers.com.au

Source: PressCable

Release ID: 460027