President's update - 6 June 2018
6 June 2018
Interesting news last week when the Australian Government announced plans to amalgamate the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and the Family Court of Australia. While the Society supports constitutionally valid reform to the family court system that reduces delays and costs for Australian families, details are emerging that do not appear to be in the best interests of those involved.
Our initial response was in step with the Law Council of Australia as well as the New South Wales Law Society views. We are still unclear how this fits into the current family law review being conducted by the Australian Law Reform Commission which we have contributed to on behalf of Queensland solicitors. At this stage it appears a separate decision which would eventually see the Family Court of Australia phased out and all escalated matters and appeals going through the Federal Court of Australia rather than a dedicated family court. We note the Government’s interest in improving the system, but we do request that any significant changes to the court system be considered in a holistic manner as part of the large-scale review already in progress. We look forward to keeping members up to date as more information comes to light, and we stand ready to engage with the government on this issue.
Legal assistance, court infrastructure upgrades, more judicial appointments and electronic document management. These are all areas that we would like to see funded in the upcoming Queensland State Budget. This is the first budget since the last election where we outlined key issues for the legal profession in our Call to Parties document.
For those interested in the highlights from the budget on the areas that affect our profession, we will be live on Facebook on the afternoon of Tuesday 12 June. I look forward to sharing with you the justice system funding announcements.
This Friday I will be joining our Gold Coast solicitors at the annual Gold Coast Symposium to share some updates on the work we have been doing for the profession, our government and the general public. I look forward to speaking with solicitors from our southern coast, with regional solicitors playing an important role in our profession. The connection that you have to your clients and local community is key to remaining pillars of society.
I’d also like to note that next Friday is Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Elder abuse is a scourge in our community and we are continuing to look at ways to raise awareness, reporting instances, promote education and increase funding for legal assistance services.
Last year we ran a trial campaign with the Australian Medical Association Queensland and the GP’s of Queensland, and we look forward to taking the next step in our journey towards elder abuse being recognised on a large scale in Queensland and the rest of Australia. I look forward to updating you on our progress in this space.
Ken Taylor, QLS president