Family Court CEO casts doubt on PWC report claims

Chief Executive and Principal Registrar of the Family Court Warwick Soden has cast doubt on a key assumption in a management consultants’ report, which the government has used to justify its planned amalgamation of the Family and Federal Circuit Courts.

THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP
SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL
SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY
MEMBER FOR ISAACS
 
FAMILY COURT CEO CASTS DOUBT ON PWC REPORT CLAIMS
 

Chief Executive and Principal Registrar of the Family Court Warwick Soden has cast doubt on a key assumption in a management consultants’ report, which the government has used to justify its planned amalgamation of the Family and Federal Circuit Courts.
 
The PwC report entitled Review of the efficiency of the operation of the federal courts states, as a key assumption, that:
 
PwC has been informed that, in practice, both the courts hear matters of similar complexity.
 
The report’s conclusion – that the Family Court is less efficient than the Federal Circuit Court because it takes longer to deal with family law cases – is directly related to this assumption.
 
But when questioned during Senate Estimates today, Mr Soden said:
 
My expectation would be, and I think the Judges of the Family Court would correctly assert that the cases that they dealt with are in the more complex category. So I think, in other words, I think it’s fair to say that the Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court deal with complex cases, but the Family Court deals with the very complex cases.
 
The government’s reliance on a single management consultant’s report – without talking to a single family actually caught up in the family law system – always seemed bogus.
 
Now the Chief Executive of the Family Court itself has punched a hole through the report’s credibility.
 
The government needs to consult properly, and come up with a better explanation for why it thinks its model is the right one for reform, and will not simply result in significant upheaval for no real change.
 
TUESDAY, 23 OCTOBER 2018