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Kangaroo Court: Family Law in Australi/Hirst, John/Paper/1863953418/S027-F
Quarterly Essay, Issue 17
"I am writing to voice my disgust as to my treatment by your Kangaroo Court known as the Family Court." So began one of many hostile submissions to the 1992 parliamentary enquiry into the Family Law Act.
The Family Court was a progressive reform of the 1970s. Now it is the most hated institution in Australia. What went wrong? This is a searching critique of its failures and injustices, supported by accounts of those who have suffered at its hands, with suggestions for change.
Some of these include: insisting that the Court enforce its own orders; imposing severe penalties on malicious allegations; returning to normal standards of proof in determining cases of child sexual abuse; assuming, unless a case can be made against it, that divorcing parents have joint custody of their children.
This is a groundbreaking essay about a painful and intractable issue that has touched so many Australian lives. It will create intense debate and command a broad readership.