News

Push for full-time judge at Lismore Family Law Court

THE Lismore Family Law Court is bursting at the seams and putting a huge strain on families.

That's the view of local legal professionals, who have argued for years there needs to be a judge based permanently in Lismore.

Currently a judge from Brisbane comes to Lismore as part of the Federal Circuit Court 15 times a year, for four or five days at a time.

A judge might have 10 matters listed for final hearing and another 50-60 matters to hear within that time. It means they often have to sit from 9am until as late as 8pm to get through the case load - and that's before they sit down to write up their judgments.

For families waiting to have their cases heard, it means extensive delays and uncertainty while they wait to get through the system.

Far North Coast Family Law Practitioners Association chairperson Jenny Cook said really urgent matters might get an initial hearing within weeks but it can be another year for an interim decision and up to two years for a final hearing.

For cases likely to take up two days of the court's time, matters are usually moved to Brisbane or sometimes Newcastle, which puts further costs and stresses on to those involved.

"There are transport issues because there's no public transport to Brisbane and there's Legal Aid issues getting representation in Queensland courts," she said.

Ms Cook said there were overwhelming statistics to back up the need for a full-time judge for Lismore, which covers the whole of the Northern Rivers region.

She said the judge could "circuit" to Coffs Harbour, which faces the same issues.

"People would have greater access to justice, they are less likely to take matters into their own hands ... the delays would not be as great and judges would not have to work such outrageous hours," she said.

"This is something that touches everyone. It's been acknowledged to us on more than one occasion that there is more than enough work to support a full-time judge but just not the funding."

The Federal Circuit Court is funded by the Federal Attorney-General's Department and local Member Kevin Hogan has lobbied for the position to be created.

"I visited the Family Court in Lismore two months ago to discuss this issue," Mr Hogan said.

"Since then I have spoken with the Attorney-General about the need to appoint a full-time judge in Lismore so that family law disputes can be settled in a much more timely manner."

Attorney-General George Brandis indicated he would consider the issue and get back to him.

Topics:  court




Rudest map: What Northern Rivers place names made the cut?

Bullshit Hill is on Australia's rude map.

We still can't believe that Blue Knob isn't on the list

Lismore roadworks to disrupt bridge traffic

Roadworks

Watch out for changed traffic conditions this weekend

Defiant Gulaptis dumped after speaking out on greyhound ban

Chris Gulaptis  Photo Contributed

Gulaptis dumped for speaking out on greyhounds

Latest deals and offers

Twice as much Troy will please country music lovers

CATCH HIM WHILE YOU CAN: Singer Troy Cassar-Daley plans to take some time off to spend with family next year.

TROY Cassar-Daley is releasing a new album and book.

Top 5 in local entertainment this week

No Caption

Top 5 events in local entertainment this week

Fallskaraoke: Sing for your tickets

The Jezabels are an Australian indie rock band formed in Sydney in 2007. They consist of Nik Kaloper on drums and percussion, Samuel Lockwood on lead guitar, Hayley Mary on lead vocals and Heather Shannon on piano and keyboard.

The 2016/17 Falls Music & Arts Festival line-up has landed!

Courtney Stodden gets Reborn Doll

Courtney Stodden is trying to get over her recent miscarriage

This week's Northern Rivers gig guide

INTIMATE REQUESTS: This month at Miss Amber & Stukulele’s uKE Night you can request or perform your favourite songs from the past five years. The stage will not be used so everyone is at the same level.Come along with or without a four-stringed friend and feel the love of an impromptu community sing along. Adults $10 – Kids under 15 $2.50 from 6:30pm tonight  Thursday at Club Mullum in the Ex-Services Club, Mullumbimby.Photo by  (this one has no water mark)

All the events happening across the region this coming week

Kate McKinnon 'destitute' before SNL

Kate McKinnon says she can't do anything but act

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.

Take a sneak peek at this $19m Whitsunday mansion

Mandalay House features a private helipad.

Mandalay is currently on the market with an asking price of $19m