Queensland Law Society

2019 Call to Parties Statement

4. Fairly resolve family law disputes

The Queensland Law Society supports family law reforms, which promote better outcomes for families. Family law is a complex and emotional area of law. The family law courts are chronically overburdened, which creates delays and exacerbates frustration and conflict.

Queensland Law Society calls for a commitment to:

  1. simplification of the family law system including the creation of a single specialist family court, with a single set of rules and single set of forms
  2. appointment of judicial officers with specialist family law experience, noting that family law is a highly specialised jurisdiction and the proper determination of family law disputes requires considerable expertise
  3. additional funding to the legal assistance sector to improve accessibility to the family law system. Access to legal advice and representation is key to the resolution of matters and helps to ensure litigants are properly informed and understand legal matters
  4. amendments to the Family Law Act 1975 which reflect the diversity of family structures and backgrounds of Australians and promotes the welfare of all children, without reference to their family structure
  5. simplification of Part VII of the Family Law Act 1975, including the ‘legislative pathway’ currently provided
  6. amendments to family law which improve the accessibility of the system for vulnerable and disadvantaged groups including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and people with disability
  7. national status of children legislation which creates a consistent approach to parentage
  8. maintaining the principle that the child’s best interest is the paramount consideration. Importantly, provisions around parenting should not prioritise or favour any particular parenting arrangement as this gives artificial weight to a particular outcome in contraction to the paramountcy principle
  9. measures which protect vulnerable litigants from systems abuse
  10. improved collaboration and information sharing between the family courts and state and territory child protection and family violence systems
  11. improving children’s experience of court proceedings and ensuring children’s views are heard and understood through the provision of additional funding for appropriate experts including Independent Children’s Lawyers and family consultants
  12. ongoing training of family law professionals, including judicial officers, on relevant matters including family violence, child development, post-separation family dynamics, diverse family structures and cultural awareness.

 

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