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Allegation of court delays disputed

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. The Attorney-General, Senator Peter Durack today disputed claims made by the Attorney-General of New South Wales about delays in the Family Court in Sydney.

Mr Walker was reported as having said" that the Federal Government was "doing nothing and proposed to do nothing to alleviate the 1 scandalous1 conditions which litigants had been suffering since the Labor

Government was ousted".

Mr Walker was reported as saying that people were having to wait 20 months for contested custody applications and property matters.

Senator Durack said that the Family Court gave priority to applications for custody over all other matters. A person seeking custody could also ask the Court for an expedited hearing.

The Attorney-General said he had been assured that in the Sydney. Registry of the Family Court, the longest delay period for any application was 12 months.

There were seven Family Court Judges in Sydney and four in Parramatta. Two of these Judges had been appointed as recently as last month and they would have a significant impact on the backlog of cases.

The backlog was expected to be further

reduced with the appointment of two Deputy Registrars in the Sydney Registry in the last two months. The Deputy Registrars were now dealing with many matters which previously had to be done, by the Family Court

Judges. .


Senator Durack said that the Family Court

since its inception had gone out of its way to help

migrants who had difficulty with the language and understanding of the law.

The Court had distributed pamphlets in eight languages explaining the Family Law Act and the work of the Family Court. The Court did its best to arrange for

interpreters to assist those with language problems, during Court hearings.

The Attorney-General said that early next year, the Sydney Family Court would move into new and permanent premises in Temple Court. .

The Court and all its facilities would then operate from the same building. The new Court complex would provide spacious accommodation specially designed to meet the needs of those.people who. would be making

use of the Court's services.

Sydney 25 November 1977 78/77

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The Attorney-General, Senator Peter Durack today paid tribute to the late Mr Justice Richard Ward

- a Judge of the Federal Court of Australia and of the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory.

Mr Justice Ward, 60, died in hospital in

Sydney yesterday after a long illness.