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Fathers respond to Law Society

News Editor

Fathering New Zealand

News Releases (2) for immediate release - 25 January 2001

1. Fathers respond to Law Society

2. Lack of Family Court Accountability Foils Father

Law Society Hysteria Campaign Steeped In Self-Interest The hysteria being generated by the Law Society over opening the Family Court to scrutiny is nothing more than an attempt to derail the just cause of fathers wanting openness in the Family Court. Such openness is a first vital step toward creating a fair and gender equal system for dealing with the custody of children say fathering groups.

Spokesman Darrell Carlin says that all manner of reasons why the court should be opened only in a limited way will be put up.

"We expect legal intimidation of the press to prevent them from reporting anything to do with the gender bias that exists and many spurious supposed outcomes of openness.

"We are not interested in going back to the days when the names of divorced people were published. We are not interested in seeing names published. That kind of talk is just an attempt by those who oppose openness and press freedom to scare people such as the politicians we're asking to right this wrong," says Carlin.

We want what is being said in the courts to be able to be published so that those lawyers and judges who are now free to engage in destructive practices can be watched and brought to book. There are many women who realise they have a significant advantage in the court and are free to make false accusations that are so clearly outlandish that if New Zealanders could see what was being said they would not allow it to happen.

Carlin says there will never be any real support for changes in the Family Court from lawyers.

"Family Court lawyers are society's hyenas; they feed on the carrion of hopes and dreams and right now they are frenzy-feeding and growing rich on the misery of children and fathers in this country."

Carlin says fathers have important work to do to change the mindset of a corrupt system and to create an environment that cares for children, mothers and fathers rather than creating a forum for them to be used as fodder for lawyers bank accounts.

"It is laughable that Anita Chan of the Law Society says the openness would "deter families altogether from availing themselves of the Family Court as a forum for resolution of their disputes".

"Can you tell me how a court is going to resolve anything when it is a place where a woman and her lawyer set out to create an image of her former husband as the worst person to ever walk the planet. How can there be resolution of anything if she is facing a man and his lawyer who need to create an image of the woman as the worst person ever to breath? The only winners are lawyers not families. The court is a place where families walk in and broken pieces of people crawl out."

Carlin says this campaign by Anita Chain is despicable for its fear mongering self-interest disguised as concern for children.

For more information contact:

Darrell Carlin 021 709 907

Release 2

2. Lack of Family Court Accountability Foils Father

An exasperated Auckland father is battling round in circles chasing accountability in the Family Court.

On August 12 2000 he made a complaint to the Auckland District Law Society about the behaviour of Auckland Family Court barrister Philippa Cobcroft, in her capacity as counsel for the child. Counsel for the Child is a court appointed solicitor that is supposed to represent the interests of the children.

Auckland District Law Society executive director Margaret Wong stopped the investigation on the grounds that the Society did not have the jurisdiction to investigate the performance of Counsel for the Child.

In an opinion sought from the New Zealand Law Society, senior director Margaret Stewart said that counsel for the child was accountable to the courts for the way they undertake their tasks. The New Zealand Law Society could only produce a draft complaints procedure for counsel for the child, however they advised that any matters of a criminal nature should be reported to the Police.

In a complaint made to the Police on the August 29 2000, Detective Senior Sergeant Stewart Alsop-Smith refused to investigate the complaint because the police did not want to get involved with investigating officers of the court.

The matter was then referred to the Minister for Courts Matt Robson who advised that because Ms Cobcroft's position as counsel for the child had been terminated the complaint should be referred to the Auckland District Law Society.

Fathering New Zealand spokesman Darrell Carlin say that this man is one of many facing a wall of bureaucracy that protects members of the family law section from accountability.

"This is yet another instance that shows why the Family court needs to be opened up to scrutiny. The Law Society, which is a self-regulating authority, is showing the unseemly side of Family Court secrecy," says Carlin. Auckland men's group leader Bevan Berg says it is an outrage that both the Law Society and the police have failed to fulfil their social responsibilities, but even worse, that counsel for the child is not accountable to anyone behind the secrecy of the family court.

For more information contact: Darrell Carlin 021 709 907

Bevan Berg 025 713 670

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