Attorney-General Christian Porter announced today that the Commonwealth Government will be bringing about significant change to the Australian family law system by combining the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia into a new court to be named "the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia".
What is interesting is the timing of the announcement, which has been made without waiting for the recommendations of the Australia Law Reform Commission's review into the Family Law system being undertaken at the direction of the Commonwealth Government and to which Lander & Rogers made significant submissions. There may be other machinations driving this, and only time will tell how these two significant initiatives sit together to ultimately improve the family law system in Australia.
There is no doubt that building an improved family law system requires the contribution and buy-in from all participants and stakeholders. We expect much discussion over the coming months as the two initiatives are developed alongside each other. We will be keeping a close watch on this space and will keep you updated on the progress and potential implications.
The Government proposes to commence the new Court structure and system from the beginning of 2019. There is a lot to be sorted out prior to this time.
A copy of the Lander & Rogers written submissions to the ALRC can be found here