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Law Commission Proposal Doesn't Go Far Enough

Law Commission Proposal Doesn't Go Far Enough

Tuesday 16 Mar 2004 Dr Muriel Newman Press Releases -- Social Welfare

While ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today welcomed the Law Commission's proposal to allow the media access to the Family Court, she warned that it did not go far enough - being just the first step toward opening up the secret Family Court.

"`Delivering Justice for All' recommends that the Family Court remain closed to the general public, but that judges be given the discretion to allow accredited media to attend and report on court proceedings," Dr Newman said.

"It is important to remember, however, that these are just recommendations - there is no guarantee that the Labour Government will adopt these proposals. Even if it did, there is still much to do to ensure that the Family Court is made properly open and transparent.

"The Family Court is the only court in New Zealand that operates behind closed doors. Opening up the Court would allow proper public scrutiny of the Court's proceedings and issues that arise.

"I am calling on the Government to heed the Law Commission recommendation and take the first step as proposed. But I also urge Labour not to prevaricate on the next step. It must properly open up the Family Court where appropriate to the public and the media - like our Youth Court - to ensure that finally we have open justice in New Zealand," Dr Newman said.


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