Being the top family lawyers in Sydney, O’Sullivan Legal differentiates from other firms in part by keeping up to date with all the latest news in the judicial system. Take for example, a recent seminar on the budget, attended by a select few of our family law specialists.
The 2022-23 Commonwealth Budget provides an important boost to the FCFCOA
Our top family lawyers have carefully reviewed he recent 2022-23 Budget and observed that there has been significant investment provided to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCOA). In an announcement on 25 October 2022 the Commonwealth Government announced it would be providing $71.5 million to the FCFCOA for additional resourcing. Our Sydney-based team of experienced family lawyers have examined the budget and what this new funding means for your legal matter.
Our Family Law Specialist’s Breakdown of the Budget
Expansion of the Lighthouse Model and appointment of additional family law positions
Our top family lawyers observed that funding to the FCFCOA provides for an additional $54.9 million package to support the expansion of the Lighthouse Model to combat family violence (over the four years to 2025-26) and funding for additional family court positions.
The Lighthouse Model
The Lighthouse Project is a recent undertaking focused on areas of triage, assessment, and risk-based screening of familial legal matters. Since late 2020 it has been successfully implemented in registries in areas like Birsbane and Adelaide Adelaide, with opportunities to expand beyond its current implementation.
With the additional resources now available to it, beginning from November 28th 2022 the Lighthouse Model is planned to expand from 3 to 15 family law registries nationally. Recent data shows that over 60% of litigants are screening as high risk, with 76% of those matters indicating they experience domestic violence. The new funding allows for a broader range of cases to be screened and supported, which will hopefully enable the Courts to better prioritise the continuing issue of family-based violence.
The expansion of the Lighthouse Model nationally should also mean greater assistance to those living in regional and rural areas of Australia.
If you would like to find out more about the Lighthouse Model and what it means for your matter feel free to contact one of our top Sydney family lawyers to discuss further.
Additional Court Positions
Part of the $54.9 million will also be devoted to the expansion of specialised positions in Courts across Australia. This funding is expected to provide for the equivalent of 71 new familial representative positions including Triage Counsellors, Senior Judicial Registrars, Judicial Registrars, Child Experts, and additional support staff. This funding will provide welcome news to both courtrooms and disputing parties by alleviating excruciating wait times for Court proceedings.
Enhancing culturally responsive support funding
The FCFCOA currently runs a modified Indigenous List to improve access pathways to the Courts for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parties in eight locations nationally. Specially trained Family Liaison Officers will also help with the running of these court events and families’ access to other key supportive services.
A further $8.85 million has now been provided to support the expansion of these specialist lists. This funding will provide up to sixteen new family law positions including Indigenous Family Liaison Officers, a registrar, a Court Child Expert and support staff.
If you are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and please feel free to contract one of our family law experts to find out how these new changes may impact your matter.
Changes & Amendments Made To Small Claims Fair Work Resourcing and Jurisdictions
Finally, a further $7.7 million additional resources have been provided to the small claims jurisdiction for the hiring of personnel including a Judge, several registrars, and extra support staff. This funding comes at the same time as the Court is planning an increase in the award limit in “small claims” matters from $20k- $100k.
These new developments will allow greater access for parties to the cheaper and more informal process run in the small claims court.
If you would like to discuss these recent developments in the small claims provision and what impact it may have on your matter please contact any member of our team.
The recent budget has provided a substantial boost in funding to the FCFCOA. This will have important changes on the running of court proceedings in the future and will allow our family law specialists to assist to a greater extent.
The attending Sydney family lawyers all agree that the news will benefit our team, the court system itself, and those on the long waiting list for a court date.
Should you wish to discuss any of the topics examined above a member of our team of top family lawyers will gladly assist you in answering any questions you may have.