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Limiting Legal Fees

Proposed amendment to Family Law Act - Original intentions. This amendment could significantly reduce hostility and angst during lengthy property matter and contact settlements

History: My belief is that the original intention of the politicians re the 1975 Act was to have informal hearings without Barristers, etc.
Of course, the expensive Barristers were not excluded from the Courts and Family Law has become a profitable business for many of the Legal Profession. Lawyers and Barrister profit enormously by extending hearings beyond a reasonable time period.

Every citizen is supposed to entitled to fair and equal treatment before the law.

Now: We have the situation where one party is severely disadvantaged in most hearings by not being able to afford expensive representation. Even if you are able to apply for Legal Aid - you may be refused because the other party is already a Legal Aid client.
Proposal:That in any Family Court case the total sum payable to the legal representatives shall be limited to a maximum of 5% of the nett property value at the time of separation OR judgment.
Breakdown:Up to 2% for Legal Representatives of each of the main parties, 1% for Children's Representative or other parties.
Example: In Sydney a modest residence may be worth $500,000 (after mortgage deduction) with other assets (car, super etc) $100,000. Total $600,000.  Therefore, 1% would be $6,000. HENCE the mother's funds available for lawyers would be $12,000. Ditto for the father, and an extra $6,000 for the children's representative if needed.
Practical Result: Most Lawyers will ensure that Mediation and Conciliation is given a FAIR go. Lawyers will NOT waste time and money on frivolous parts of the matter. Lawyers will have to think twice before calling in expensive barristers. Lawyers might decide to use e-mails rather than creating massive paper trails.
Additional result: The delays in the Family Court would be reduced. Parties may understand what is happening. More cases should be settled by negotiation with Consent Orders.
Implementation: As usual - this sort of reform will need a lot of public support. It will need the support of lots of community groups that want to see family assets used for the parties and the children rather than the legal profession.

John G.  FLRA (NSW) Inc.  :thumbs:

Last edit: by OneRingRules


Honorary Treasurer, Family Law reform Association of NSW Inc.
John GEREMIN, 02-9758 5686, mob 0427 10 20 60.

Primary contact - Coral SLATTERY, secretary, 02- 9542 2459, mob 0402 021 438.

Can you help the Computer Museum find some storage space near Sydney.

 
John

I think your suggestion misses the mark somewhat. What happens if a couple do not have large assets, supposing only $10K each - does that mean they could only spend $200 on representation which would be about 30 minutes legal time.

Apart from the absurbly high cost of representation - the fact (despite 12A) is that the proceedings are adverserial and therefore to an extent 'guaranteed' to generate some litigation. Do you believe the legal profession would not fight anything that potentialy reduced their incomes?

The more cases that are run under 12A - the better, because the less adverserial nature of these hearings mitigates the need for representation.

The CCP pilot developed into 12A - I would like to see a 'pilot' scheme with NO legal representation - that way the issue of costs would be immaterial. The Courts could appoint a 'Parents Rep' - with costs shared between the parties - that way neither is disadvantaged by financial, language or other circumstances

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
Agog said
The CCP pilot developed into 12A - I would like to see a 'pilot' scheme with NO legal representation - that way the issue of costs would be immaterial. The Courts could appoint a 'Parents Rep' - with costs shared between the parties - that way neither is disadvantaged by financial, language or other circumstances
 Yes I think a good idea. The CCP (Childrens Cases Program) is definitely being roled out as the rule from what I can see and being a less adverserial system allows the judicial officer to take some control and direct the matter to try and get down to the bottom of the key issues more quickly. This new method also avoids the ridiculous situation of cross examination which usually results in trying to prove one party or the other left the toilet seat up or was the party responsible for all the ills of the relationship.

I understood that the CCP involved a court mediator in many cases? Have we a detailed list of the procedures for CCP and is the procedure being adopted widely? CCP should avoid and in fact negate costs as you can be pretty well self represneted I would have thought under CCP. What do our SRL friends say about representation under CCP?  :o   


Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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