- Case and litigation guardians in the Family Law Courts
- Australia’s draft reports under the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), and under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
- Electronic conveyancing
- Provision of court transcripts
Case and litigation guardians in the Family Law Courts
The Family Issues Committee made a submission to the Commonwealth Attorney-General requesting that he give urgent consideration to implementing a nomination process for appointing case guardians and litigation guardians; and funding for their legal costs — for use in the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia.
There are currently no processes in place with the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department to enable the nomination of a case or litigation guardian in circumstances where a court accepts that a party does not have the capacity to conduct proceedings on their own behalf, and no other independent person is available for appointment.
The Committee noted that, where there is no case or litigation guardian for appointment, the court proceedings cannot progress and the court may dismiss the proceedings or delay the proceedings indefinitely pending the appointment of a guardian. This clearly has very serious consequences for the parties involved, and particularly for any children involved in the proceedings.
The Committee suggested that the Attorney-General should examine the operation of the NSW Department of Justice’s guardian ad litem panel with a view to implementing a similar model for the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court.
Other issues raised for the Attorney-General’s consideration include:
• Indemnity and statutory protections—the need for a statutory scheme providing indemnity or statutory protection to people who act as a guardian; and
• Possible legislative changes to enable guardians, or another category of support person, to see that orders made by the Court are carried through to completion.