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The Comprehensive L-PLATER’S GUIDE to Children’s Matters in the Family Court Justice Barry Family Court of Australia.

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Presentation on theme: "The Comprehensive L-PLATER’S GUIDE to Children’s Matters in the Family Court Justice Barry Family Court of Australia."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Comprehensive L-PLATER’S GUIDE to Children’s Matters in the Family Court Justice Barry Family Court of Australia

2 Point of most critical importance If nothing else: REMEMBER YOUR INTEGRITY

3 References The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Children’s Matters in the Family Court (The Guide) The Guide makes use of material contained in: Renata Alexander (2008) Australian Master Family Law Guide 2nd Edition, CCH Australia Limited

4 Recent Amendments to the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) … …

5 Disclaimer Suffice it to say: 1. These views are my own. 2. They may not be shared by other members of the Judiciary. 3. It is in no way disparaging to other views.

6 Topics to be addressed: 1.Dealing with difficult clients – what can you do? 2.Filing consent orders 3.Seeking adjournments 4.Affidavits and annexures 5.Beneficial office practices 6.Briefing Counsel

7 Difficult Clients Clients have issues. They are in some stage of the grieving process. They will be experiencing emotions such as:

8 Your duty to the client Duty to reach the best outcome. Duty to explain your inability to work miracles. Be conscious of the parties motives, particularly in children’s cases where property or child support are in question.

9 Enquire of parties’ medical histories. Not uncommon for litigants to have: Personality disorders. Drug induced psychosis. Other forms of psychosis or mental disorders (including bipolar condition). Highly anxious litigants. Problem with addiction.

10 Solutions A parting of ways. Passing off onto colleagues. Documentation No longer accepting instructions.

11 Filing of Consent Orders Look at the question of finality. Think about the appeals process. Decisions of Registrars and State Magistrates are appealable as of right: s 96 of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) Part 18.2 of the Family Law Rules 2004 (Cth) Decisions of Federal Magistrates and first instance Family Court require appealable error: s 94AAA and s 94 of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)

12 Appeal Process There are three forms of review: De novo. By way of rehearing. An appeal in the strict sense.

13 Seeking Adjournments The good and the bad. The good being: For interlocutory applications when an expert report is not yet finished. The bad being: At the first day of trial because the applicant sprained her ankle. Just prior to a trial on the basis of a vague medical certificate.

14 Fill in the blanks (downloaded straight from the Internet)

15 Family Law Rules 2004 (Cth)

16 Adjournments pending Legal Aid Appeals from Legal Aid decisions rejecting an application for Legal Aid are rarely successful. Generally between 1% - 5% of appeals result in decisions being overturned.

17 Affidavits and Annexures General rule of thumb: If it is irrelevant, don’t annexe it. What’s more, if it is bigger than your thumb, don’t annexe it.

18 Beneficial Office Procedures Personal libraries should contain: MIMS – pharmacology manual; DSM-IV – the Psychiatrists diagnostic manual (psychiatrist’s Bible); A medical dictionary; A legal dictionary; A biographical dictionary; A Thesaurus; A short form encyclopaedia; A text on valuation evidence; and A good text on evidence.

19 Best not to reinvent the wheel

20 Involving your client in their future Suggest they come to Court. Suggest they bring something to read while they wait. Suggest they look smashing.

21 Briefing Counsel General rule: Provision of invaluable advice. But remember, they are only ever as good as their brief.


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