Number of applications to Family Court has plateaued: CEO

Number of applications to Family Court has plateaued: CEO

The decline in the numbers of applications to the Family and Federal Magistrates Courts appears to have plateaued, according to the CEO of the Family Court and acting CEO of the Federal Magistrates Court, Richard Foster.

Mr Foster told the Senate estimates hearing this week:

  • As at the end of March this year, in the Federal Magistrates Court there have been 11,550 and in the Family Court there have been 2,850 applications filed for final orders, or at a rate of 80/20.
  • Projections for the financial year make it 3,800 applications for final orders.
  • Since the introduction of Family Relationships Centres, there was a drop in the number of applications filed.
  • In 1998-99 there were 21,931 applications filed in the Family Court. Since then, coming to 2008-09, projections are that there will be 17,800 for both courts, which is a
    reduction in family law filings for final orders in the order of 19 per cent over that period of time.
  • It looks as if it might have plateaued in the last couple of years, the numbers being slightly up on last year’s were 17,306.
  • On average it takes 13.5 months from filing to the first date of trial.
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