Data confirms Newcastle courts in crisis

Shocking new data has revealed that judges in Newcastle’s Family Circuit Court are straining under workloads twice the size of the national average thanks to the Turnbull Government’s failure to fill a critical judicial position.  

THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP

SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL

SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY

MEMBER FOR ISAACS

SHARON CLAYDON MP

FEDERAL MEMBER FOR NEWCASTLE

 

DATA CONFIRMS NEWCASTLE COURTS IN CRISIS 

Shocking new data has revealed that judges in Newcastle’s Family Circuit Court are straining under workloads twice the size of the national average thanks to the Turnbull Government’s failure to fill a critical judicial position.  

The data, which was prepared by the Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court John Pascoe, shows that Newcastle judges are projected to have an average of 770 matters on their books in the year 2016-17 compared to the national average of 376.

Attorney-General George Brandis has done all he can to hold off releasing this data and now we know why.

This is a damning indictment of the Attorney-General’s complete and utter failure to fulfil his basic obligation to appoint a replacement judge after he appointed Judge Matthew Myers to a Law Reform Commission inquiry in February, leaving the Newcastle Registry a judge short for the last four months.

Senior legal representatives and former Family Circuit Court Judge Giles Coakes have been warning the Attorney-General for months that judges are at breaking point and the system is in crisis. But four months on, Newcastle is still waiting for him to do his job.  

It’s hard to overstate the impact this is having on families facing marital breakdown, child custody disputes, drug abuse and  domestic violence. They are now being forced to wait for years in limbo for their cases to be resolved.

This is not just an inconvenience – it is putting some families in danger.

Every day the Attorney-General leaves this critical judicial vacancy unfilled, the waiting lists grow and the situation becomes more grave. Inexplicably, Senator Brandis has not been able to give a date by which Justice Myers’ position will be filled.

This isn’t just incompetence. It is a catastrophe.

The Attorney-General needs to appoint a new judge to the Newcastle Federal Circuit Court as a matter of urgency.

FRIDAY, 30 JUNE 2017