Proctor : July 2018
13 PROCTOR | July 2018 Natalie De Campo is a Queensland Law Society senior policy solicitor and Pip Harvey Ross is an advocacy clerk and coordinator of the QLS RAP. The Society acknowledges that children’s views are critical to the proper resolution of parenting matters and the rights children have to make their views known and participate in processes relevant to their care. However, the way in which a child’s view comes before the court must be carefully managed, under the guidance of appropriately qualified experts who have a sound understanding of post-separation dynamics and the possible consequences of high conflict separation. Crucially, children’s views must be heard in a manner that does not further expose children to conflict and burden children with adult responsibilities. A substantial proportion of matters before the family law courts involve family violence. There is significant scope for improvement in terms of how parties who have experienced family violence can be supported at court. QLS members have expressed support for the implementation of recommendations from the Victorian Royal Commission into family violence, as set out in the issues paper, including: • safe waiting areas and rooms for co- located service providers • adequate security staffing and equipment • separate entry and exit points for applicants and respondents • private interview rooms for use by registrars and service providers. Our full submission can be found at qls.com.au > For the profession > Advocacy. On 30 May 2018 the Attorney-General announced the amalgamation of the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court, effective from 1 January 2019. The new Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCA) aims to help families to resolve their disputes faster by providing a consistent pathway for family disputes dealt with through court proceedings. Queensland Law Society has expressed support for measures that improve and simplify court processes for those engaged in the family law system. The Society supports the view that the existence of two separate courts, with different rules, procedures and processes produces unnecessary complexity and may contribute to delays. However, the timing of this significant change is curious given the comprehensive review of the family law system currently under way. The ALRC will make recommendations in relation to the range of reforms necessary to ensure the family law system better meets the needs of Australian families. Importantly, these recommendations will be supported by expert advice and a thorough research and consultation process. The introduction of significant structural changes prior to the conclusion of this review may be premature. The Society supports reforms that have instead been considered in a holistic manner. Finally, family law is a highly specialised jurisdiction and the determination of family law disputes requires considerable expertise. We support a court system which reflects this. Further, support services currently provided through the family law courts, including family consultants, are crucially important to the system and must be maintained. The ALRC is due to provide its report to the Government in March next year. by Natalie De Campo and Pip Harvey Ross Advocacy Note 1 Professor Richard Chisholm, ‘Rewriting Part VII of the Family Law Act: A modest proposal’, (2015) 24/3 Australian Family Lawyer.