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Sydney family court system delays and what it means for you.

lineThe delays being experienced in the Sydney family court system is a hot topic of conversation within the family law community at present. In a media release issued by the NSW Bar Assosiciation on 30 November 2015 it was highlighted that the Federal Government cannot ignore the widening gap between the crushing caseload of the Federal Circuit Court and the number of available judges who can hear them.

In 2014 – 2015 more than 95,300 cases were litigated and divorce cases processed in the Federal Circuit Court. More than 83,000 family law filings were finalised. However during this same period, nine Federal Circuit Court judges retired and not all of them have been replaced. The high work load placed on the courts sees the discussion turn to judicial appointments and Government funding for the courts.

It is an important issue as the delays often create frustration and anxiety for families already experiencing an extremely challenging time.

Antonella Sanderson, Principal Solicitor and Director of Family Law Matters and Member of The Law Society of NSW Family Issues Committee 2016 shares insights about the current state of affairs.

‘On 25 February 2016 the Attorney General, the Honourable George Brandis QC, made an announcement that there were 6 judicial appointments across the Federal Courts. From the perspective of Sydney, Parramatta and Wollongong registries of the Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court, there was only one appointment. We are all very grateful that the Federal Circuit Court of Australia at Sydney has received the benefit of the appointment of Judge Elizabeth Boyle, and we look forward to experiencing an easing of the current delays. However, we do not anticipate that the appointment of one Judge to the Sydney registry will solve the problems of the extensive delays as a whole – there are still retirements that have not been filled, and with more retirements from the Sydney registry coming up, practitioners are extremely concerned about the manner in which clients will experience delays in the system.’

What does this mean for you and your matter?

Now more than ever, it is important to receive sensible advice about a reasonable range of settlement in a case, so that appropriate negotiations for resolving the matter can occur. When you have a strong advocate for your position, you are able to put forward the appropriate arguments to the other party to establish the reasonable nature of the settlement. In addition, it is important that you feel your solicitor can provide alternatives to court, such as participating in mediation, which requires the solicitor to be well prepared and confident in the mediation setting. This may see you able to avoid experiencing any delays in court and being stuck in the system.

If you are experiencing frustration and anxiety over delays in your matter, call us on 02 9523 3007 or complete the online contact form.