Federal Court appeal lodged against Attorney General’s divorce fee hike

27 August 2015
Maurice Blackburn Lawyers have today lodged an appeal in a case against a regulation forced on Australian families in July by Federal Attorney General George Brandis that led to a substantial hike in the fees to file for a divorce and issue a subpoena.

Maurice Blackburn Lawyer Matthew Littlejohn said an appeal was important for the families caught up by the Attorney General’s fee hike, with the Attorney’s regulation bringing in around $67,000 daily in extra fees for almost a month before it was again disallowed by the Senate.

A case had earlier been brought against the Attorney General on behalf of a number of applicants in a bid to stop the fee hikes before they were disallowed a second time.

“Whilst we respect the earlier decision of the Court, we feel this is an important matter that needs to be appealed for people across Australia who were forced to pay these fees whilst they were also grappling with the pain of a divorce,” Mr Littlejohn said.

“This is particularly important given reports the Attorney may again be considering a hike in Family Court fees by regulation, despite the Senate having now disallowed this regulation twice.

“Continuing to try to force these fees on families is not only unfair, it again raises significant concerns about access to justice,” he said.

Mr Littlejohn said the appeal was also important in standing up for the processes of the Parliament.

“The Attorney-General believes that he can reintroduce regulation after regulation with only minimal changes each time,” Mr Littlejohn said.

“We believe that is unfair, and also shows disregard for the Senate.

“We’re asking the Full Court of the Federal Court to re-examine whether that is the correct interpretation of the law.

“It is our hope that in appealing this decision we will be able to assist not only those people affected while the increased Family Court fees remained in effect, but also to clarify the law around the reintroduction of disallowed fees and regulations,” he said.

The appeal has been lodged with the Full Court of the Federal Court.

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