A Family Court judge has rebuked the federal government for its “inordinate delay” in replacing retiring judges in an extraordinary speech calling for an urgent injection of funds to deal with a growing caseload.
Justice Stephen Thackray, who resigned as a judge of the Family Court’s appeals division amid a controversial shakeup of court administration, said judges worked “very much harder” than was reasonable and court staff had not received a pay rise in “four years and eight months”.
He said inefficiencies in the Family Court were caused by a range of factors, including a shortage of judges and registrars. Retiring judges were “either not replaced or replaced with inordinate delay”, he said.
Justice Thackray took aim at the “bizarre” family law structure in which jurisdiction is shared between the Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court, saying it “[confused] the hell out of everyone” because different rules and procedures applied in each court.
Attorney-General Christian Porter said on Friday: “Both the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court have a full complement of judges, with the most recent appointment to the Family Court announced on 15 March.”
He said he was “convinced that significant efficiencies and improved outcomes can be achieved by a range of reforms inside existing resources”.
Mr Porter said “decisions of substantive internal court management” were ultimately a matter for Chief Justice Pascoe and Chief Judge Alstergren and “my observation is they are bringing an unprecedented energy to making a more efficient family court system”.
Source : Sydney Morning Herald