The information provided below is general in nature and should not be relied upon legal advice. You should call 03 5445 1000 and speak to a lawyer at OFRM about your particular circumstances.

Family Law State of the Nation

This morning at the National Family Law conference kicked off with presentations from the Commonwealth Attorney General, George Brandis, the Chief Justice of the Family Court, Diana Bryant and the Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court John Pascoe.

As anticipated there was no announcement of buckets of money to improve the family law system, rather as Diana Bryant emphasised "we are living in an age of austerity". The AG's announcement of pursuing consideration of whether child protection cases could become part of the work of the Family Court. There are a few constitutional hurdles to this and just referring it to the family law council for consideration is a slow start.

At OFRM we are dedicated to using technology to improve the conduct of our matters — being at the forefront of the commencement of econveyancing is just one way we are doing that. Family Lawyers seem to be by nature technophobes — I can't even find a twitter hashtag for this conference!

It was great to hear Justice Bryant say the court is committed to implementing electronic court files. The introduction if electronic court files is a great time and cost saver for Bendigo family law clients. Now that we can file many of the court documents from our desk top saves our time and money for our clients. It will be a great day when we can view subpoenaed documents from our desk.

The powerful part of the morning was the presentation of Judge Pascoe gave on International Commercial Surrogacy and the many challenges it throws up for both International laws and the Australian Family Law courts. The many chilling case examples he gave demonstrated what a difficult area this is and why it needs considerable consideration to develop a better Australian approach.

It's certainly the case that there is a lot more variety of what is a family than when the Family Law Act commenced in 1976. It's time to make sure the law reflects the reality if families today.

Now while I wouldn't mind a bit of a nap, or a shop, the afternoon has some interesting topics so more soon!