Breaking News - Senate rejects the Family Court Merger Bill
In 2017, the Turnbull government announced its intention for the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) to conduct its first major review of the Australian Family Law system since the commencement of the Family Law Act in 1976. On 30 May 2018, prior to the release of the ALRC's Report, the Commonwealth Attorney-General announced the government's intention to bring forward legislation to merge the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia into one overarching administrative structure to be known as the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia.
In breaking news, the proposed bill to merge the two Courts has been rejected by the Senate on 3 April 2019 and will not at this stage be passed into law.
The Family Law Section of the Law Council has strongly campaigned against the Family Court merger because it argues that the proposed model is deeply flawed and a “band aid fix” to deeply rooted issues with the current Australian Family Law system. Law Council President, Arthur Moses SC, has said that “merging one court with another does not address significant underlying issues, including chronic underfunding and under-resourcing, which have led to crippling delays, pressures and costs”. At this stage, the bill has been shelved and it remains to be seen if and when the current family law system will be reformed to help meet the current needs of Australian families.