Statement from FLPA president James Steel
The Courier-Mail article “Judges fly to Brisbane to clear family law backlog” on 26 September neither accurately describes the process undertaken by the Court, nor does anything to help separated families resolve their disputes and move forward with their lives.
Addressing the backlog in family law matters in Brisbane has the full support of FLPA. The pro bono mediations conducted during the recent callover held in Brisbane were an initiative of FLPA.
There is nothing unprecedented about a court conducting a callover. It is common practice for most Australian courts, including the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court, to regularly review matters awaiting trial. To suggest that lawyers are responsible for matters “languishing in the system for years” is disappointing and deflects from the reality that the courts are operating with inadequate resources.
FLPA members have long worked with both the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, and will continue to do so, to ensure that users of both courts finalise their matters as simply, quickly and efficiently as possible with the current resources available.
The fact that members of FLPA willingly volunteered their time to provide pro bono mediation services during the recent callover demonstrates the profession’s commitment to assist separated families resolve their disputes.
The profession is pleased that early reports indicate that this initiative – with the profession and courts working together – has led to many parties settling their disputes and avoiding the need to proceed to a final hearing.
FLPA looks forward to continuing its work with the courts for the benefit of those who most need our support.