New report charts future of the family law system

11 Apr 2019

After years of uncertainty about the future of the family law system, the next government now has a clear roadmap for how to amend the law, and improve the system of justice, for all those unfortunate enough to go through a relationship breakdown. Academic Dean and Head of TC Beirne School of Law,Patrick Parkinson writes for The Conversation.

The Australian Law Reform Commission’s (ALRC) report, published on April 10, is the result of 18 months of work, initially under the leadership of Professor Helen Rhoades. The President of the ALRC, the Honourable Justice Sarah Derrington, led the project in its later stages.

The final report makes recommendations that are considerably different from the proposals put forward in its discussion paper in October 2018. That paper presented an ambitious reform agenda focused upon the provision, at taxpayer expense, of many new services, such as “one-stop-shop” centres to help people access relevant programs.

While many of these were worthy ideas, a taxpayer dollar can only be spent once, and the discussion paper did not adequately set out a rationale for the new spending initiatives, or prioritise between them. The final report nonetheless builds upon some of the sensible proposals for reform to the law the paper put forward, such as the simplification of the law concerning parenting after separation.