Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
License needed for work use Register

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


Public feedback sought on Family Court review

Public feedback sought on Family Court review

Justice Minister Simon Power is calling for public feedback on a discussion document into the Government's ground-up review of the Family Court.

The Family Court is the second busiest court, and deals with families and children at highly stressful times of their lives. In the 2009/10 year it dealt with 58,000 families and 66,976 applications.

"The Government is conducting this review over concerns that since 2004/05 the court's overall costs have increased by 63 per cent (excluding judicial resourcing), from $83.9 million to $137.1 million while applications to it have remained relatively stable," Mr Power said.

"And there's little evidence that this huge cost increase has resulted in improved outcomes, particularly for vulnerable parties and children.

"The research is clear about the negative impact that persistent conflict has on children, and figures show that in 2009/10 it took an average of 306 days to complete a parenting order application compared to 216 days in 2006/07, an increase of 90 days.

"The escalating costs, for no apparent improvement in outcomes, indicate clearly that the Family Court is not as effective and efficient as it could be.

"A culture change is needed to encourage separating parents to resolve matters at the earliest opportunity, and before the conflict becomes entrenched in court."

This document will help shape proposals for Family Court reform in 2012.

Mr Power said the Government's vision for the Family Court is one where:

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

* Vulnerable people and children are protected and prioritised.
* Access to the court is well managed to avoid unnecessary litigation, people are supported to resolve their disputes outside court, and the court is used only as a last resort.
* Processes are simple, clear, consistent, and certain, and systems are in place to manage complex cases.
* Personal responsibility is emphasised and, where appropriate, the costs of accessing the courts are met by users.
* Decisions are made within a useful and acceptable timeframe and the decisions are logical, workable, and durable so people do not come back to re-litigate their cases.
* The system is affordable to the taxpayer.

"The Family Court is run by dedicated, hard-working judges and practitioners, and in my engagement with them I've been impressed with their ability to look beyond their role and think about how the whole system could work better."

Mr Power is encouraging court users and the public to have their say on the discussion document, which can be downloaded here Submissions close on 29 February 2012.

As well as written submissions, people who have used the Family Court or have sought family legal advice can complete an online questionnaire about their experiences to feed into the review. The questionnaire, along with background questions and answers, and terms of reference for the review are available here

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On How Climate Change Threatens Cricket‘s Future

Well that didn’t last long, did it? Mere days after taking on what he called the “awesome responsibility” of being Prime Minister, Christopher Luxon has started blaming everyone else and complaining that he's inherited “economic vandalism on an unprecedented scale” - which is how most of us would describe his own coalition agreements, 100-Day Plan, and backdated $3 billion handout to landlords... More

Public Housing Futures: Christmas Comes Early For Landlords

New CTU analysis of the National & ACT coalition agreement has shown the cost of returning interest deductibility to landlords is an extra $900M on top of National’s original proposal. This is because it is going to be implemented earlier and faster, including retrospective rebates from April 2023. More

Green Party: Petition To Save Oil & Gas Ban

“The new Government’s plan to expand oil and gas exploration is as dangerous as it is unscientific. Whatever you think about the new government, there is simply no mandate to trash the climate. We need to come together to stop them,” says James Shaw. More

PSA: MFAT Must Reverse Decision To Remove Te Reo

MFAT's decision to remove te reo from correspondence before new Ministers are sworn in risks undermining the important progress the public sector has made in honouring te Tiriti. "We are very disappointed in what is a backward decision - it simply seems to be a Ministry bowing to the racist rhetoric we heard on the election campaign trail," says Marcia Puru. More




InfoPages News Channels


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.