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NZ Must Copy Australian Family Court Changes

NZ Must Copy Australian Family Court Changes

Radical changes to the Australian Family Court announced today to increase fairness and justice in family law must be urgently replicated in New Zealand, ACT Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said.

"The Australian Family Court has faced many of the same pressures and criticism as our own. But unlike in New Zealand, the Australian judiciary have moved to get their Family Court out of the dark ages.

"The Australian Family Court is a model of responsiveness. Not only have they changed their assumption from being a closed to court to being open, but they are taking steps to become even more user-friendly to parents who want to represent themselves.

"By publishing a step-by-step guide to cases on a website, complete with examples and details of the appropriate sections of the law, the court is greatly assisting those parents who cannot afford a lawyer. This not only ensures justice is accessible for all, but it enables non-custodial parents to continue the fight for their right to parent their children without it ruining them financially.

"The fact that the court is also piloting a scheme to change from the present "adversarial" system to the European "inquisitorial" system shows how forward-looking it is. In comparison, the New Zealand family court appears like a dinosaur - closed, secret, biased and expensive. The exact opposite of what it should be.

"The sooner we model our Family Court on Australia's by opening it up and making it more user-friendly, the sooner we will see real justice being delivered to New Zealand families," Dr Newman said.

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