Industry backs Senate's plea for increased court funding
Written on the 20 March 2018 by Yasmin Bonnell
In a move applauded by legal industry bodies, the Senate this week passed a motion calling for increased funding for both the Federal Circuit and Family Courts.
The Senate declared on Tuesday that both courts are seriously underfunded and underresourced, and the Law Council of Australia says if funding issues aren't resolved it's likely to have a lasting social and economic impact on the system.
President of the Law Council Morry Bailes has applauded the senate for recognising the funding crisis and the effect it's having on the Australian community.
"This motion makes patently clear that the Australian Senate recognises our Federal Circuit Court and our Family Court are in crisis," he says.
"On behalf of all Australians who will engage with our justice system, we urge the Government to heed the Senate's concerns and provide our courts with the funding required to effectively fulfil their role.
"It is unacceptable that in a nation as prosperous as Australia, we are seeing families facing the prospect of being forced to wait up to three years before finalising cases involving disputes around children and property and allegations of family violence.
"These delays add unnecessary stress to what is likely a very painful and difficult time for the families involved.
The family law system in Australia is currently under review, however the Law Council says this should not preclude the Government from increasing funding to the sector.
Bailes says the upcoming budget is an opportunity for the Government to take serious action.
"We are grateful the Senate has recognised the justice crisis and that it has expressed its collective view so powerfully today," he says.
"The upcoming Budget is a chance for the Australian Government to recognise the crisis in our courts and take steps to ensure Australians have timely access to justice."
Author: Yasmin Bonnell