Domestic Violence and Cross-Examination in the Family Court

Historically, victims of domestic violence have faced additional barriers and struggles when facing the court proceedings through the Family Law system. Once of the more difficult situations that arise is the Abuser is able to cross-examine and question the victim during a Final Hearing.

The Family Law Act has recently been amended to protect victims of family violence from re-traumatisation by requiring that cross examination must be conducted by a legal representative, either a privately retained lawyer or one funded through Legal Aid NSW (if eligible). If a lawyer has not been engaged for the proceedings, then cross examination will not take place.

The amendments will apply to all Family Law Hearings from 10 September 2019.

The amendments provide for two types of bans, automatic and discretionary. An automatic ban applies where: –

  1. Either party has been convicted or charged with an offence involving violence or a threat involving violence against the other party;
  2. A family violence order is in place; or
  3. There is an injunction under the Family Law Act in place.

The discretionary ban allows Courts to consider matters where none of the automatic ban provisions apply, on its own accord or by an application made by one of the parties or an Independent Children’s Lawyer.

If you require further advice in relation to the recent amendments or about your Family Law matter in general, please contact our office to make an appointment with a solicitor to obtain information about your legal rights by calling us on 02 4655 4224.

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