Ministerial media release:
Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, today launched a new pilot project aimed at improving collaboration in the family law system.
The ‘Dandenong Project’ establishes new case management powers for the Federal Magistrates Court to actively manage all matters filed at Dandenong Registry. It also features a ‘triage’ process to establish up front the issues in dispute and whether a matter is suitable for dispute resolution.
The Project also aims to assist self-represented litigants by working closely with community legal assistance providers to ensure sufficient information and support is provided.
“To get the help they need separating families often need both legal and non legal advice and support. By bringing together a range of professionals, the Project will ensure that people get the advice and support they require,” Mr McClelland said.
The Project involves the Federal Magistrates Court and the Victorian Family Law Pathways Network assisted by Victoria Legal Aid, the Peninsula Community Centre, local providers of family relationship services and students from Monash University Family Law Assistance program.
These organisations will provide information, referrals and links to a broad range of community services to help families address a wide range of complex needs.
“The Court has worked very closely with local legal practitioners and community agencies to develop this project and we are looking forward to implementing the initiatives,” Chief Federal Magistrate, John Pascoe said.
The Dandenong pilot will run until the end of December 2010, following which the Project will be evaluated for possible roll-out in other locations.