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New family court judge for northern Tasmania



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The Commission, when functional would absorb the Australian Legal Aid Office in Canberra and also

the work presently being done by the Legal Aid

Committee.

The Australian Legal Aid Office would

continue to operate in Canberra until the Commission was fully operational, Senator Durack said.

Canberra

11 November 1977 . . .

72/77

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NEW FAMILY COURT JUDGE FOR NORTHERN TASMANIA

The appointment of a resident judge of the Family Court in Launceston would . make available the full facilities of the Family Court to the people of Northern Tasmania, the Attorney-General, Senator Peter Durack said today.

Apart from the new judge, Mr Justice Butler, the Court in Launceston would now have full Registry facilities available to it including two Family Court Counsellors, two Family Court Reporters and other

support staff.

Senator Durack said he was delighted that Mr Justice Butler had accepted appointment to the Family Court of Australia. Mr Justice Butler was sworn in today in Launceston by the Chief Judge of the Family Court, Justice Elizabeth Evatt.

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The Attorney-General said the Family Court was constantly dealing with the complex human relationships surrounding the breakup of a marriage. Already it had established a reputation throughout Australia as a 1 helping1 court.

■ One reason for the success of the Court was that the Family Law Act required that when judges were being appointed, not only their training, experience and personality should be looked at, but also their

suitability to deal with matters of family law.

Senator Durack said Mr Justice Butler's appointment would mean that Launceston would be the base for the operation of the Family Court in Northern Tasmania. Previously cases lodged at Launceston were heard by the resident Family Court Judge in Hobart. Cases in Burnie. had been heard by a judge from

Melbourne.

Mr Justice Butler's appointment would now * .

free the Melbourne Judges from the Burnie commitment and would allow those Judges to concentrate on the Melbourne list. .

Senator Durack said that more applications for dissolution had been filed in Launceston than in

Hobart so far this year. There had been 465

applications filed in Launceston compared with 454 in Hobart.

Until the end of October this year 36,249 applications for divorce had been filed and 35,586 decrees had been granted throughout Australia.

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While it appeared the number of applications were running substantially below the rate last year,

they were still much higher than 1975, the year before the Family Law Act came into operation.

The Attorney-General said it was the

Government's intention to have the Launceston Registry fully operational as soon as possible.

Positions for Counsellors and Reporters had already been advertised and it was hoped to fill these positions with staff recruited from Northern Tasmania.

Launceston 16 November 1977 73/77

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MARKED DECLINE IN DIVORCE APPLICATIONS

There had been a marked decline this year in the number of people, throughout Australia, seeking a divorce, the Attorney-General, Senator Peter Durack said today.

He said the rate of applications this year tended to confirm the view that last year - the first year of operation of the Family Law Act - figures were much higher than the normal rate.

Senator Durack said that by the end of

October this year, 36,249 applications had been lodged in the Family Court in all States, for divorce. This compared with 54,227 applications for the same period

in 1976. .