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Australia's Attorney-General compromises in bid to merge Family Court

Date:26 FEB 2019
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Australia's Attorney-General Christian Porter has agreed to "significant" changes to his proposed merger of the Federal Circuit and Family Courts in a bid to convince the crossbench to agree to the plan in the final sitting days before the federal election, according to Australian newspaper The Age.

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But the proposed amendments have not persuaded the peak body for the legal profession, the Law Council of Australia, to back the plan.

The bill to abolish the Family Court of Australia as a stand-alone court and merge it with the lower-level Federal Circuit Court, which handles some family law matters alongside migration cases, has been roundly criticised by Labor and senior figures in the legal profession.

Key crossbench senator Rex Patrick, who is in negotiations with Mr Porter about the bill to merge the courts, said Mr Porter had abandoned a proposal to scrap the Family Court's appeal division and send appeals from the new court to the Federal Court.