Family law clients be warned – if you believe that you can obtain a prompt resolution of your matter by taking it to trial, rather than first exploring all alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) options, then you could be in for a shock.
One Federal Magistrate recently advised, in open court, that his trial calendar for 2012 was full and he was already allocating trial dates for 2013. And the workload placed on all Federal Magistrates in Brisbane could well be similar – some Magistrates have been known to be hearing up to 35 matters (case reviews, interlocutory applications, etc) in a day. If such workloads are the norm, even when a Magistrate finally is able to conduct a trial of your case, how long will it then take to find the time to write the judgment in that case?
To reduce the stress on the Federal Magistrates Court system, we believe some Magistrates are calling for more resources to be put into the Brisbane Registry. Even if those calls are accepted by government, how long will it take for the necessary resources to be put in place, and then how long will it take to clear the backlog of cases in the current bottleneck? In the meantime, the delay for litigants would continue.
For clients to avoid the stress and other hardships of disruption to their attempts to finalise their family law litigation, they are strongly encouraged to consider all ADR options, such as informal conferences or mediation, to resolve their cases. If they insist on “their day in court”, they could be waiting for years, rather than months, to see the end of their litigation.