8 Jul 2014 Posted in Press releases
What the Act is about
The Act covers the constitution, jurisdiction and powers of the Family Justice Courts, and the administration of justice in the Family Justice Courts.
It seeks to strengthen court infrastructure and enhance court management processes to better protect and support our families.
Key Features of the Act
The key features of the Act are as follows:
- A new Family Justice Courts (FJC) comprising the High Court (Family Division), the Family Court and the Youth Court will be established to hear all family-related proceedings.
- The Family Court will, by default, hear all family proceedings except cases under the Children and Young Persons Act (Cap. 38), which will be heard by the Youth Court.
- The Juvenile Court will be renamed the Youth Court and come under the FJC instead of the State Courts. It will hear cases related to children and young persons, and where necessary, may direct the parties to undergo mediation or counselling, as well as to participate in available family support programmes.
- The High Court (Family Division) will primarily hear appeals against decisions of the Family Court and the Youth Court.
The FJC will have a central Registry which will receive, assign and manage all cases for hearing, and will be under the supervision of the Registrar of the FJC.
The Presiding Judge of the FJC will be the most senior judge of the FJC and a Judge or Judicial Commissioner of the Supreme Court. The Presiding Judge of the FJC will be appointed by the President on the recommendatin of the Chief Justice.
The Chief Justice will also be given powers under the Act to designate.
- District Judges and Magistrates for the Family Court and/or Youth Court;
- Registrar, Deputy Registrar and Assistant Registrars who will run the Registry; and
- Officers who will assist in the operations of the FJC (e.g. bailiffs, interpreters, counsellors, social workers, psychologists).
In any proceedings before the Family Justice Courts involving the custody or welfare of a child, the court may, where necessary, appoint a registered medical practitioner, psychologist, counsellor, social worker or mental health professional to examine and assess the child or person for the purposes of preparing expert evidence for use in those proceedings.
- A Family Justice Rules Committee will be established to make Family Justice Rules, regulating and prescribing the procedure and practice of the FJC. The Committee will consist of the Chief Justice, who will be Chairman of the committee, as well as Judges of the Supreme Court, Presiding Judge of the FJC and Registrar of the FJC.
- The Family Justice Act will form the basis for the setting up of the FJC infrastructure and related court processes.
MINISTRY OF LAW
8 JULY 2014
Last updated on 07 Jul 2014