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Flashcards in Courts- family Deck (16):

Legal responses to problems that arise in family relationships are generally governed by the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth).The Act has been

amended many time to incorporate evolving societal values and to improve the mechanisms for ensuring more equitable outcomes.


Established in........the Federal Circuit Court (FCC)



The court was primarily designed to hear less complex cases so as to reduce the workload for the Family Court

which had become clogged with cases, inhibiting its effectiveness due to its inability to achieve justice in a timely manner.


Presently, the Family Court has appellate jurisdiction to the FCC and has original jurisdiction

for more complex matters, including those which involve violence.


For more straight forward cases, the FCC offers many primary dispute resolution services,

including negotiation, conciliation, arbitration, counselling and conference mediation.


family dispute resolutions offered by the FCC constitute

more personalised approach to solving conflict and are considered quite effective as a result.


Most of these (FDR) services are distributed by the

government ‘Family and Relationships Services Australia’ to non-government organisations (NGOs), including ‘Relationships Australia’


Despite the availability of the FCC and Family Court, of matters are resolved through primary dispute resolution.



The fact that 95% of cases resolved through FDR is beneficial not only for court in terms of

of resource efficiency but also for the parties involved due to the lower costs involved.
many rural areas have limited access to Family Relationship Centres which can inhibit their ability to solve conflict successfully. ---> But Relationships Online and national telephone service


When primary dispute resolution fails, the Family Court becomes involved.

Even here, the Family Court is considered effective in reaching equitable outcomes due to trials being less adversarial
standard of proof being based on balance of probabilities

+protecting privacy by prohibiting the names of those involved from being published.


what does using family reports do?

Additionally the use of family reports assists in reaching the most suitable outcome for the child, by providing a detailed overview of the family’s relationship history and the child’s views.


These features of Fam court (family reports and FDR) provide a personalised

approach to resolving problems in family relationships so that more just and meaningful outcomes can be achieved.


The court’s effectiveness, however, is limited by resource availability and efficiency. This was highlighted by the ABC QandA program featuring George Brandis which highlighted how

the government’s poor funding of the Family Court system which had resulted in shortages of judges across regional NSW.
This led to some families having to wait three years for an outcome to be reached, having detrimental effects on the children involved.


This highlights that through the Government’s poor resource management the .

Family Court System has denied the rights of individuals to the timely resolution of cases, resulting in prolonged conflict for families


Furthermore, cuts to domestic violence funding for family courts in 2016 could

place children at more risk of harm with victims of family violence unable to adequately represent themselves in court.


In recognition of the ineffectiveness of the family law court, AG Brandis has recently announced a review

of the Family Court Act 1975, which has been described as painstakingly slow and prohibitively expensive (ABC, 2017)

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