Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

QC Wrong To Dismiss Family Law Death Warning

The Law Society on Friday slammed FARE (Families Apart Require Equality) for claiming that bad family law can result in tragic deaths. John Priestley QC, said that “it is nonsense to say that NZ law and the Family Court encourage parents to fight over children”. But ACT Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks called instead for reasoned debate on proposed changes which may increase irrational violence, especially toward judges and lawyers.

“Of course fights are inevitable. Sadly, children are valuable tokens, giving to the parent who gets them exclusive right to assets and control of access” said Mr Franks.. “Some of that is unavoidable, but Mr Priestley surely knows of the Family Court judges’ concern, that the government wants new property law that could make things worse.

“The principles of ‘equal sharing’, ‘clean break’, and ‘no fault’ are to go, but to what extent no one can tell, because it will be left to the judges to decide.”

“Principal Family Court Judge Mahoney took the unusual step in July of going to the Select Committee dealing with the Property (Domestic Relationships) Bill which will change our matrimonial property law, to plead that it spell out more clearly what it intended.

“He came because the Bill just states lofty intentions. It will force the judges to try to work out what it should mean in each case, at the expense of the thousands of unhappy families who have to pay for needless cases when no one can tell them in advance what the result will be. The Law Commission had a similar worry.

“In Australia, Family Court judges have been murdered. A climate of menace can flow directly from uncertainty in family law. The disappointed party knows that the lawyers, not the law, have decided the outcome. The law leaves the judges such wide discretions, that the decision can turn on how the judge feels about the case.

“Law should be about rules known in advance, not the feelings of the particular judge on the day. Each side’s lawyers should be giving their clients much the same advice about what the will happen if the case goes to trial. That is what the rule of law means. But it cant happen when the law is framed as slogans, not clear rules.

“When there is no sign that the Government is listening the Law Society should have acknowledged the issues raised by FARE, even if it is too much to say that the tragedy in Nelson would not have happened under better law.

“A dramatic law change is being rammed through. The Select Committee is to report next month. The public has heard mainly that it extends to de facto and same sex couples.

“Much more is at stake than that. The change ups the “bitterness token” value of children to the party who “wins” the case. The Law Society should be taking every opportunity to get us to think about the Judges’ concerns, and to raise our sights to look at overseas experience,” said Stephen Franks.

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Tourism’s Endless Sense Of Grievance

Sad that a once in a century pandemic should have come along before the government had a clearly thought out plan for rescuing all the firms and saving all the jobs in the tourism sector. Sad that the government now looks like it was making up the criteria for support as it went along. But guess what? To some extent, they were. Possibly because in the modern era, a pandemic had never before caused international travel to evaporate almost overnight... More>>

 

PREFU: Economy Doing Better Than Forecast

The Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update released today shows that the near-term economic recovery has been stronger than the Treasury and many economists predicted at the May Budget, as the economy bounced back strongly out of lockdown... More>>

ALSO:


PM Statement: Cabinet COVID-19 Alert Level Review

Takiri mai te ata, ka ao, ka ao, ka awatea, tihei mauriora! Tātou katoa ngā iwi o Aotearoa, tēnā koutou! Tēnā tātou e whakanuia ana i te wiki nei, te wiki o te reo Māori Greeting to you all from Otepoti, Dunedin. This week is the Māori ... More>>

ALSO:

Greens: $297m Fund To Support Sustainable Food And Farming

The Green Party has released its Farming for the Future Plan, including a $297m fund to support farmers and growers to transition to climate-friendly practices. The plan will: · Improve how we look after our land and water, with a levy on the ... More>>

ALSO:

National: Plan To Restore NZ’s Prosperity

National’s Economic and Fiscal Plan carefully balances the need to invest in infrastructure and core public services while also reducing tax pressure on Kiwi families and businesses. National Leader Judith Collins and Finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith unveiled National’s ... More>>

ALSO:

NZ First: Party List

New Zealand First has a proven twenty-seven-year history of bringing balance and common sense to our government. Amid the continued setbacks of COVID-19 restrictions, New Zealand First has once again sustained its profile by selecting a strong team ... More>>

Election: Arriving Travellers In Isolation To Be Able To Vote By Telephone

Up to 5,000 people in managed isolation or quarantine will be able to vote by telephone in the general election and referendums after an amendment to electoral regulations last week. Chief Electoral Officer Alicia Wright says the Electoral Commission sought ... More>>

National: Investing In Our Children’s Future

A National Government will prioritise lifting achievement for all New Zealand children, no matter their background or ability, National Party Leader Judith Collins and National’s Education spokesperson Nicola Willis say. “Parents just want what’s best for ... More>>

Police: Numerous Arrests Following Investigation Into Historical Offending At Auckland School

Detective Senior Sergeant Geoff Baber, Auckland City Police: Police have made six arrests as part of an operation investigating historical offending at Dilworth School. Auckland City Criminal Investigation Branch have been investigating since a complaint ... More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 


 

InfoPages News Channels