The Family Law Practitioners’ Association of Queensland (FLPA) welcomes most of the proposed reforms to the family law legislation announced last night by the Senate Committee, but is disappointed that there will be no additional funding to implement them.
FLPA president Deborah Awyzio said an anomaly existed under the Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2011outlined in Section 67ZBB which requires the court to take ‘prompt action’ in cases where violence or abuse was alleged.
Ms Awyzio said she was concerned that while ‘prompt action’ was required, the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee report indicated that no further resources were to be directed to an already overworked court system to adequately cope with this requirement.
“This is in the context of there being outstanding judgements from the Federal Magistrates Court, some more than 12 months old,” said Ms Awyzio.
“There is evidence that the courts are not coping with their current work load let alone being able to afford prompt action where allegations of violence or abuse are raised.”
In a submission earlier this year, FLPA made a number of suggestions which have been accepted by the Senate Committee including the expansion of the definition of abuse and family violence and the removal of mandatory costs orders.
Earlier this year, the Federal Government introduced the Family Law Legislation Amendment. The Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2011 will amend the Family Law Act to provide better protection for children and family at risk of violence and abuse.
The Attorney General has indicated that the amendments are not intended to overturn the shared care laws introduced in 2006.
For further information, please contact:
Merrett Pye on 0422 096 049 or Caroline Thurlow on 0414 565 575
The Family Law Practitioners’ Association of Queensland is the leading professional association for the family law sector in Queensland.