Blowout in waiting times for family law proceedings

28 May 2012

Professor Patrick Parkinson AM says the long delays in cases before the family courts could be emotionally and financially devastating for families.

According to a report in The Australian, in Perth and Sydney, where the court delays are worst, lawyers say litigants in cases involving children are regularly being forced to wait a year for a trial date, and sometimes as long as three years.

Professor Parkinson believes there is no doubt the delays were compromising the safety of children.

Hesays judges provide interim orders at the beginning of a case aimed at protecting the interests of children but they do not have the time in court at that point to properly assess the risks involved in a particular case.

"The practical impact of that is you may not be able to make a very accurate risk assessment of the case," he asserts.

"It's like you all end up at the emergency ward of the hospital, you've got no triage nurse and the doctor is going around having a quick look at the patients and saying, 'Here's a bottle of pills for the next 12 months'.

"People's lives are on hold and still stuck in the phase that they're divorcing.

"At that psychological level it can be devastating not to be able to move on."

View the entire article - Law delay puts kids in danger - The Australian

Contact: Greg Sherington

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