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Family Court reform: thinking outside the witness box

Date:18 OCT 2016
The President of the Family Division has recently confirmed what family law professionals have known for a long time. The system is on its knees brutally stripped of resources and full to the brim with vulnerable families who can’t access fair representation because legal aid is all but gone. With every year that goes by new problems layer on top of old ones. Even the President himself can’t pinpoint why care applications are rising or why high conflict divorce cases linger on inside the system for years.

Yet the solution to the system’s woes has been in plain sight for some time.

The Family Court currently works on the underlying premise that families in crisis must be ‘tried’. The idea stems from the family courts’ own personal history as the vast majority of judges tasked with overseeing family matters started out in the criminal justice system. Notions of trials reason without passion (and by extension often compassion) and right and wrong have given us a process that’s far too basic to deal with the very complex emotional and social legacies families harbour.

This line of thinking...

Read the full article here.