Queensland Law Society

Queensland needs more Family Court judges: QLS

Date 25 Feb 2016
Contact Tony Keim
Phone 07 3842 5835
Mobile 0488 433 884
Email t.keim@qls.com.au

Queensland Law Society has applauded the Federal Government’s appointment of Catherine Carew QC as the State’s new Family Court judge.

But, the Society says at least two more judges were needed in Queensland to cope with the State’s overwhelming workload.

Society president Bill Potts said Ms Carew, a QLS member from 1981 to 1992, will make an excellent judge and is a worthy replacement for Judge Graham Bell, who retired a year ago.

“We have no doubt she will be a terrific judge and the Queensland legal community welcomes her appointment with open arms,” Mr Potts said.

“Ms Carew is a former solicitor, and QLS is very pleased to see highly regarded practitioners appointed to high office.”

The appointment comes less than two weeks after the Society called on the Federal Government to make additional Family Court judicial appointments in Queensland to cope with a burgeoning workload.

Mr Potts last week said: “Statewide, Queensland has 13 Federal Circuit judges and only three Family Court trial judges for a population of 4.8 million people.

“Our Queensland lawyers report very long delays for trial dates (often up to two years) in both courts and a shrinking pool of legal aid for family law matters. Even after getting a trial date, there are often delays in judgments bringing closure – 18 months is not uncommon.”

In response, Federal Attorney-General George Brandis announced the Federal Government would appoint an additional judge to the Family Court in Queensland.

“We congratulate the Federal Government and Mr Brandis on the new announcement,” Mr Potts said.

“However, members of the Society continue to raise serious concerns about delays in both the Family Court and family law matters in the Federal Circuit Court.

“One judge is very welcome but more are needed to alleviate the delays and heavy workloads. Two more judges in the Family Court would return Queensland to the position it was in in 2011. The family trial division has a massive backlog and there is a dire need for three more Federal Circuit Court judges throughout the State.”

QLS stands ready to engage with the Attorney-General on the issue of resourcing and work through the need in Queensland.

Ends

For further information, please contact Tony Keim on 07 3842 5835, mobile 0488 433 884 or via email, t.keim@qls.com.au.