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Family Court Commemorates 25 Years

17 October 2006

Family Court Commemorates 25 Years

The New Zealand Family Court commemorates its 25th anniversary this month.
Over the past 25 years it has helped countless New Zealand families resolve differences with the prime objective of achieving the best outcome for all involved, but especially the children.

Ministry of Justice Family/Civil Jurisdiction Manager Denise Udy says one of the greatest tributes that can be paid to the Family Court is that it has constantly evolved and changed in response to and recognition of the changing social environment in which New Zealanders live.

“The Care of Children Act introduced last year recognised the many types of family and whanau arrangements that now exist for looking after children and provided for more openness in the Family Court’s processes.”
The Family Court was set up in 1981 following a Royal Commission on the Courts chaired by Sir David Beattie, at that time a Supreme Court Judge.

The Royal Commission received an overwhelming public clamour for change in the way the Court system handled family law cases, in particular divorce and disputes over children.

“Over the past 25 years, the New Zealand Family Court has worked with hundreds of thousands of families, helping them to resolve conflict between separating families; sorting out disputes over property; facilitating adoptions, protecting those at risk of domestic violence and much more,” Mrs Udy says.

“The establishment of the Family Court, and the way in which it has evolved, has acknowledged and reflected the changes in New Zealand society, in the ways in which families and whanau interact.

It continues to evolve, meeting the needs of families in New Zealand, recognising and acknowledging our differences and in particular, ensuring that the welfare and best interests of children are always the key to decisions made for them and with them.

Mrs Udy acknowledged the important role played by all staff in the Family Court, from the Judges through to the Family Court Co-ordinators who work closely with people going through a stressful time in their lives.

“The introduction of the Care of Children Act last year has brought with it significant changes to benefit the way in which children's needs are addressed. The Ministry continues to invest in new services and programmes to help parents and their children through difficult times in their lives.”


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