THE family courts are in crisis after being overlooked in the Federal Budget.
Kenny Spring Solicitors principal Angus Edwards said little has been said about the absence of any increase in funding to the family court system, and said severe cuts to community legal centres only exacerbated the situation.
Mr Edwards said family law parenting matters are now being listed for hearing in 2019.
“Appointments for the preparation of family reports, the expert reports the court uses to assist it in making parenting orders, cannot be booked until December 2016 at the earliest,” he said.
“Judges sit well into the night to deal with the overwhelming burden of cases, which continues to grow, and which places undue stress on separating families.”
And Mr Edwards said the story is no different in other areas of the state.
“Whether we are in Parramatta, Canberra, Dubbo or Sydney the delays are the same and the frustrations evident. Additional funding for new judges to meet the demand is urgently required, however the Federal Government, sadly, does not see this as a priority,” he said.
“There is no commitment for more judges or extra funding. Judges are retiring and not being replaced and there are also more people in the system.
“The Law Society, solicitors, everyone is on the case, but the Federal Government simply doesn’t see it as an issue. The faster these family law matters are resolved the less stress there is on children and families.”
Funding cuts to Community Legal Centres will also be widely felt, with a large proportion of their work related to family law and domestic violence.