Australian Family Court System in Meltdown

The 2006 shared parenting reforms in Australia left a lot of mother’s unhappy with the continued involvement with the father in the children’s lives. Last year’s changes to the Family Law Act has resulted in an unprecedented level of domestic violence and abuse allegations being made now more than 50%. Reports of abuse and violence had, until that point, been in steady decline in the four years leading up to the reforms.

Introduction of Domestic Violence legislation

Article here

Legal Aid Cuts Results in Disastrous Drop in Divorce Mediation

The number of divorcing couples entering pre-court mediation is down by a third because of cuts in legal aid for lawyers. It has been observed that the only route left to obtain legal aid for lawyers is to make allegations of violence or abuse.

Thousands of divorcing couples and their children are now heading straight to court.

Mediation is an alternative system designed to help families reach agreement over their property and children’s upbringing without going to court.

The number of couples inquiring about formal mediation has halved since the cuts came into force in April, with the number of couples entering mediation down by a third. The difference made up by self funding.

The numbers of people applying directly to courts has exploded, often without the help of a lawyer, for rulings on contentious and complex issues such as contact with their children.

However, legal aid funding is still available for mediation. Because the lawyers don’t get paid for it, they are not referring people to mediation. Perhaps a court inspired scheme to inform people about mediation is necessary.

The phone number for legal aid is 0845 345 4 345.

Justice Munby’s Guidelines on Jailing People in Secret Family Courts Ignored

In 2006 when questions were put to Harriet Harman on the number of people jailed in 2005 in secret in the Family courts, the answer was 200.

Justice Munby’s guidelines in that people should not be jailed without a fair and public trial are being ignored.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Absolutely secrecy gives sustenance to absolute power.

Many shocking cases are anonymously presented in an excellent article in the Telegraph by Christopher Booker.

Actually, this is not a surprise to anyone who has had first hand experience of the family courts.