PARLIAMENT

Proposed law to better protect, support families

A Bill for a new law aiming to better protect and support families was tabled yesterday in Parliament.

The Family Justice Act seeks to do this by strengthening court infrastructure and enhancing court management processes.

Under the proposed law, a new Family Justice Courts will be set up to hear all family-related proceedings.

Comprising the High Court (Family Division), the Family Court and the Youth Court, it will have a central registry that will receive, assign and manage all cases for hearing.

The new courts will have a Presiding Judge, to be appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Chief Justice.

The Presiding Judge will be the most senior judge there.

He will also be a judge or judicial commissioner of the High Court.

For any proceeding that involves the custody or welfare of a child, the new courts can appoint registered specialists such as doctors, counsellors and social workers to assess the child so as to prepare expert evidence.

A Family Justice Rules Committee, chaired by the Chief Justice, will also be set up to formulate rules to regulate how the new courts operate.

IAN POH