Federal Magistrates Court to be abolished

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Federal Magistrates Court to be abolished

The Federal Government has confirmed that the Federal Magistrates Court will be abolished in the restructure of the federal courts system.

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The Federal Government has confirmed that the Federal Magistrates Court will be abolished in the restructure of the federal courts system.
 
The Family Court and Federal Court will operate under a new two-tiered system absorbing matters currently going to the magistrates court.
 
In November 2008, the government released the report, ‘Future Governance Options for Federal Family Law Courts in Australia’, which found that current arrangements were unsustainable.
 
The proposed restructure will reduce duplication of court administrative structures and corporate services by merging the existing Federal Magistrates Court into (new) lower divisions of the Family Court and the Federal Court.
 
The magistrates court has approximately 50 members and it is understood that their jobs are safe until they reach the mandatory retirement age of 70.
 
Two-tiered structure
 
The Federal Court will be the single court dealing with all general federal law matters:
  • the restructured Federal Court will have two tiers
  • appeals and other complex work will generally be heard in the first tier, with shorter, less complex matters redirected to the second tier
  • existing judges of the Federal Court will operate in the first tier
  • Federal Magistrates will operate in the second tier
  • upper and lower level Fair Work Divisions, which will hear matters under the government’s new workplace relations system, will be maintained and provide a ‘one-stop shop’ for employers and employees.
 
The restructure will produce savings of $7.8 million over four years by reducing duplicated administration costs.
 
Further information is available on the Attorney-General’s Department website.
 
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