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Labour trying to answer wrong question on Family Court

Labour trying to answer wrong question on Family Court & Legal Aid service provision, says Counsellor and Family Mediator

“Shadow Attorney General Charles Chauvel is trying to answer the wrong question in his press release reading the services of the Family Court to vulnerable families, and he needs to stop subscribing to myth, ideology, and popular opinion, and start reading the international service outcome evidence for Family Court services” says Steve Taylor, Director of 24-7 Ltd.

Mr Taylor, a Counsellor and Family Mediator in private practice, recently submitted a 65 page review and extensive New Zealand based case study to the Ministry of Justice Family Court Review, and has studied the service type, provision and outcomes of New Zealand Family Court services to Masters Degree level.

“Mr Chauvel is trying to answer the wrong questions regarding Family Law service provision – the Outcome research is very clear that it is not about the NUMBER of service providers that determines good outcomes for families and children: it is the PROVIDER QUALITY and the MEASUREMENT of provider quality that determines good outcomes.

In the 31 year existence of the Family Court, no-one has thought to measure client service outcomes, be they for Lawyers, Counsellors, Mediators, Social Workers, or any other service provider – the data simply isn’t there, and no-one is asking the end user client what would work best for them – and that is the voice that should hold the most weight” says Mr Taylor.

“The fact is that if a Lawyer, Counsellor, or Mediator had a research-validated positive outcome record of say an 80% success rate in their work, families would be beating down their door to seek assistance from them – instead, all we have in New Zealand is one gigantic legal services “lottery – it’s less about funding, and about the quality”.

When one considers for example that a Family Court Lawyer for Child Lawyer receives just 3 days training from Continuing Legal Education, and when Family Court Lawyers for Child admit in the public arena and to their own professional association that they are not responsible for the accuracy of the reports that they write to the Family Court, then some serious questions have to be asked about the quality of services being provided by the current 964 Family Court Lawyers in New Zealand, before we start considering as to how many Family Court Lawyers we may actually need”.

“Let’s actually evaluate the effectiveness of what we have already, before throwing more good money after bad, and let’s privilege the clients voice in that evaluation” says Mr Taylor.

Click here for a copy of the Ministry of Justice Family Court Review submitted by Steve Taylor.


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