As part of Australia’s Economic Recovery Plan, the Morrison Government is providing additional support for Australia’s legal system to help those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and to support those using the courts to resolve their matters as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The 2020-21 Budget measures include an additional $87.3 million for family law services that help families going through a separation to resolve matters without having to go to court.
“Legal fees associated with protracted court action can rapidly eat away at the funds parents need to restart their lives after a separation, so it makes good sense to assist them to settle matters amicably wherever possible,” the Attorney-General said.
“Keeping matters out of the courts also helps to reduce congestion for those cases where court proceedings are necessary.”
The Government also recognises the pressures the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on the justice system more broadly, and key portfolio measures include:
- $35.7m in additional resources and judges for the Federal Circuit Court (FCC) to ensure timely case hearings for migration and family law cases, funded by increases to FCC migration application fees.
- $35.3m in increased temporary resourcing for the Fair Entitlements Guarantee program.
- $7.7m for upgrades to the Launceston and Rockhampton FCC registries.
- $5.1m for the Fair Work Commission to meet demand arising from COVID‑19 and ensure workplace disputes are resolved as quickly as possible.
- $4.8m for the Family Violence and Cross-examination of Parties Scheme.
- $2.5m to allow the federal family law courts to continue to hear urgent matters through a specialist COVID-19 List.
- $2.5m to transition the Family Court of Western Australia to a new case management system.
- $1.8m to implement criminally enforceable federal family violence orders (FFVOs).
“The past year has presented a number of challenges to legal and workplace services in terms of the level of demand and issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Attorney-General said.
“We are investing in additional resources, upgraded systems and better facilities to ensure the services within my portfolio responsibility continue to allow Australians to efficiently resolve their legal and workplace issues.”