The federal government’s proposal to merge two courts will lead to more efficient outcomes for family matters for Tasmanians.
Attorney-General Christian Porter announced on Wednesday the government would introduce legislation to amalgamate the Federal Circuit Court and Family Court in 2019.
The intention was to clear a massive case backlog, particularly in the larger mainland states.
Tasmanian family law barrister Kate Mooney said the state was fortunate to have three judges to hear Family Court matters which meant that applicants did not experience the severe delays seen elsewhere.
Two judges serve in the Federal Circuit Court and one in the Family Court
“We’re very well served here,” Ms Mooney said.
“The judges in Tasmania are responsive when matters need to be hear urgently.”
She said through the amalgamation, lawyers and applicants would no longer need to deal with two separate sets of rules and case management tracks.
Family Law Practitioners’ Association chairman Marcus Turnbull said trial dates were obtained a lot faster in Tasmania although sometimes a case might extend beyond a year.
He believed the changes would lead to earlier mediation processes and significant savings in time and money for applicants.
The federal government believed the reforms would improve the efficiency rate in the federal family law system by a third and allow an extra 8000 cases to be resolved each year.
The most recent national median time to trial figures have increased for the Federal Circuit Court from 10.8 months to 15.2 months and from 11.5 months to 17 months in the Family Court.
Labor has expressed support for the changes.