The Family Court ought never to be viewed in isolation as it lies at the intersection of other systems. That is why this administrative review is a wasted opportunity if it does not get to the heart of the matter. The Family Court is unlike other courts, if it is indeed a court in reality? Some suggest it is really a social agency attempting to solve social not legal problems. Others see it as merely legalising and processing family-related problems having lost its dispute resolution mandate. In future a clarification of the role of the court will be required. But it’s not just administrative processes that ought to be the focus, although improving the processes will certainly help. The Family Court does not exist in a vacuum. How can you challenge administrative processes when the bigger picture is set up to game and not settle, there is limited accountability and there is a lot at stake for those involved as shown below.
Joanna Moss is a social policy analyst with particular interest in the Family Court. Through her work she has acted as a McKenzie Friend and supported mothers, fathers, grandparents and a foster mother going through Family Court proceedings. She has been able to combine hands-on exposure to court issues as well as appearing before Select Committees on Family Court matters over a ten-year period.