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Direct cross-examination in family law matters

Current project

This project will consist of a quantitative and qualitative analysis of data collected from court files.

Background

Over the last decade, there has been growing concern about the extent to which cross examination of witnesses occurs in family law cases where family violence has been alleged. This may involve victims of family violence being cross-examined by the alleged perpetrator of family violence and may also include circumstances in which alleged victims may be required to cross-examine alleged perpetrators.  

On 17 July 2017, the Australian Government, Attorney-General’s Department released an Exposure Draft of the Family Law Amendment (Family Violence and Cross-examination of Parties) Bill 2017. This Bill contains proposed amendments to the Family Law Act to address concerns regarding direct cross-examination of parties in family law court proceedings involving family violence.    

About the project

The AIFS has been commissioned to undertake research to: 

  • identify the extent to which direct cross-examination involving self-represented litigants is taking place in family law proceedings and  
  •  examine the factual and legal context in which this direct cross-examination is occurring.   

This project will consist of a quantitative and qualitative analysis of data collected from court files and from audio and/or transcripts of proceedings in family law matters. 

Duration

August 2017 - December 2017

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