成都夜网,成都夜生活网

成都红绳楼凤论坛

Newcastle Federal Circuit Court delays will blow out if judge not replaced: legal experts

Hunter families court ‘stranded’ as judge heads for Qld Attorney-General Christian Porter is being called upon to make ‘timely appointments’. Picture: Dominic Lorrimer
成都夜生活

COURT SHORT: Federal MP Sharon Claydon with (from left) Newcastle Bar Association president Michael Graham and Hunter Valley Family Law Practitioners Association president Chris White. The trio say delays at the Newcastle Federal Circuit Court are ‘intolerable’ and could get worse if an outgoing judge isn’t replaced.

TweetFacebookNEWCASTLE’S legal community and federal MP Sharon Claydon have warned of “dangerous” and “completely intolerable”delays in the Federal Circuit Court if the Turnbull Government fails to replace an outgoing judge.

Broken families are staring down legal limbo after Acting Attorney-General Greg Hunt confirmed Judge Steve Middletonwill be transferred to Townsville.

A failure to replace Judge Middletonwill put the busyNewcastle registry in the same situation as last year when the court was left with two sitting judges, down from three, after the government waited eight months to make a new appointment.

That delay contributed to a workload that was more than double the national average, with the Attorney-General Department’s own figures revealing Newcastle judges dealt with 770 matters last financial year, compared with the national average of 376.

Legal experts said on Sunday they were launching a “pre-emptive strike”, a warning to Attorney-General Christian Porter that he needed to “act swiftly”.

“The delays that are experienced at the moment are unacceptable – between eightand 12 months until you get a hearing,” Newcastle Bar Association president Michael Graham said.

“You can expect 18 months to two years before justice can come your way.That is completely intolerable.”

MrGraham predicted further delays would leave families “stranded” in “dire circumstances”.

The court mainly deals with family law matters, including divorce and custody battles.

“We’ve seen circumstances where people snatch children, where children are mistreated,” Mr Graham said. “It definitely has a long-term affect on the most vulnerable in our community.”

Ms Claydon said“dangerous delays” and staff who were “almost drowning” under the caseload were a result of the government’s“abysmal”succession planning record.

She urged Mr Porter to “do his job and make timely judicial appointments”, lamenting that she was “standing here for the third time in nearly as many years” dealing with the same issue.

Hunter Valley Family Law Practitioners Association president Chris White added the Bolton Streetcourt was also physically restrained in that there was not enough room for a fourth judge, which the association has requested.

Acting Attorney-General Greg Hunt said the transfer of Judge Middleton was prompted by the departure of a judge in Queensland who left at “very short notice, and left the Townsville Registry of the Federal Circuit Court without a judge”.

“This has been resolved by the transfer of Judge Middleton from Newcastle to Townsville, with two judges remaining in the Newcastle Registry,” he said in a statement.“A replacement for Judge Middleton is currently under active consideration.”

Mr Porter is on paternity leave.

Comments are currently closed.