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Gutless anonymous Family Court Lawyer attack condemned

Gutless anonymous Family Court Lawyer attack “indicative of attitude towards Family Court Consumers” says Counsellor & Family Mediator.

A Counsellor and Family Mediator is calling out the anonymous Family Court Lawyer who labelled Family Court Consumers “violent parents, drug users, and nut-bars” on a national radio show on Thursday 6/9/12 during a live interview.

Steve Taylor, Director of 24-7 Ltd, was being interviewed by Leighton Smith of Newstalk ZB in response to a press release Mr Taylor issued in response to Judge Peter Boshier’s comments on desiring more Family Court intervention for families (press release below, with link to Ministry of Justice report that informs the press release).

During the show, an anonymous Family Court Lawyer wrote to the show, attacking and attempting to defame Mr Taylor for speaking up, and then attacked Family Court Consumers, many of who have had very harrowing experiences within the Family Court process, labelling Family Court consumers “violent parents, drug users, and nut bars”.

“To label Family Court Consumers “violent parents, drug users, and nut bars”, and to then imply that service providers to the Family Court were somehow wholly functional and possessed the wisdom of Solomon flies in the face of the Family Court Users Review conducted by the Ministry of Justice 2011 – 2012. Such a statement is sadly indicative of the attitude and contempt that many Family Court Lawyers hold towards service users, and affirms that a Family Court Lawyers first loyalty is to the Court, second to their professional collegiality, and third, to the client they are being paid to represent” says Mr Taylor

“As a Social Services Outcomes Researcher who has studied Family Court Outcomes and Reforms both locally and internationally, I am happy to debate any New Zealand Family Court representative on the issues I have raised: however it seems that the best the Family Court industry can muster in response to me is anonymous attack letters to radio shows – which is both cowardly, and pathetic”.

“My message to the anonymous Family Court Lawyer is this: “Instead of engaging in ad homonym attacks on me and Family Court Consumers, how about fronting up and debating the issues with me – and don’t forget to bring your name with you next time” says Mr Taylor

ENDS

Ministry of Justice Report:

http://www.justice.govt.nz/policy/justice-system-improvements/family-court-review/family-court-review-documents/Online-questionnaire-final-report.pdf

Original Press Release:

Press Release: Call by Principal Family Court Judge for outcomes a "laughable lament" says Social Service Outcomes Researcher

The call by Principal Family Court Judge Peter Boshier for more Family Court intervention for children in need in order to achieve sustainable outcomes is an ill-informed, laughable lament by a man and a system that has been deservedly sidelined by the new Family Court reforms, says Steve Taylor, Counsellor, Family Mediator, and Social Service Outcomes Researcher.

“The recent release of the proposed reforms for the New Zealand Family Court, tabled by Minister of Justice Judith Collins, are finally heading in the direction of sound international Family Court outcome evidence, however more weight needs to be given to the service user feedback component of the Family Court Review” says Steve Taylor, the Director of 24-7 Ltd, Counsellor and Social Services Outcomes Researcher. “What we don’t need is Family Court dinosaurs like Judge Boshier trying to get in the way of the evidence that the new reforms are based on”.

“In 2009/10 the Family Court dealt with approximately 58,000 families, 66,976 applications, and 14,895 requests for counselling (Ministry of Justice).

In the 2011 – 2012 Family Court review, a service user questionnaire was launched by the Ministry of Justice (“Reviewing the Family Court – A Questionnaire”), the results of which I would argue need to be given appropriate weight and attention by the Minister and the upcoming Justice Select Committee, given the data has been secured from those who have been most dramatically affected by the Family Court process, the service users” says Mr Taylor.

“It may interest Judge Boshier to know that service users are the most important stakeholders in the Family Court – more important than Judges, Lawyers, Psychologists, Counsellors, & Social Workers, because all of the aforementioned are simply guests within the process – the family system remains long after a case is closed, and long after the professionals have left the building. It is the voice of the service user, not a particular lobby or special interest group, that should be heeded above all others”.

Despite only 121 responses being received between 20/11/11 – 29/2/12 (a return rate that is perhaps an indication of how poorly the questionnaire was advertised and distributed), the results of the service user questionnaire nevertheless provide a revealing illustration of “what works” for people who have experienced, or are still experiencing, the Family Court process. What is revealing about the systemic service failure revealed below is that Judge Boshier presided over much of it, so for Boshier to now claim a desire for “sustainable outcomes” flies in the face of his abject negligence of same during his tenure:

• 38% of respondents had a case still proceeding in the Family Court;

• 79% of respondents had to attend the Family Court to settle a dispute.

• 53% of respondents required a Court order in order to settle a dispute.

• 61% of respondent’s lawyers had advised them to take Court action in the first instance.

• 47% of respondents felt that their Lawyers were not helpful to them in their dispute.

• 84% of respondents felt that Counselling was not helpful to them in their dispute.

• 35% of respondents nominated none of the Family Court services as being helpful to them in their dispute (including Counselling, Mediation, Parenting through Separation, and negotiation between lawyers).

• 46% of respondents found no relevance for a final Parenting Order.

• 54% of respondents rated their Lawyer for Child as “not competent”

• 51% of respondents rated their Counsellor as competent, while only 32% of respondents rated their Court-appointed Psychologist as competent (If Counselling is to face the axe in these reforms, then by this result, Court appointed Psychologists should be facing the axe even quicker than Counsellors, who are deemed by service users to be more competent than Court-appointed Psychologists).

• 43% of respondents nominated none of the available Family Court professionals as being helpful to them in their dispute (including Judges; their own Lawyer; Lawyer for Child; the Court appointed Psychologist (who rated “0”); Counsellors; or Mediators).

• 74% of respondents nominated preferences to dispute resolution away from the Family Court.

• 82% of respondents nominated the Family Court process as having had a negative impact on their children.

• 72% of respondents were very dissatisfied with the time it took the Family Court to settle their dispute.

“The long-overdue and welcome side-lining of Lawyers in family disputes; the introduction of family dispute resolution away from and apart from the Family Court; the dumping of ineffective counselling interventions; and the necessary reining in of Lawyer for Child and Specialist service providers will all go a long way to reducing service costs, whilst improving service user experience, says Mr Taylor.

“Judge Boshier is the champion of the old guard in the Family Court, an old guard that has now thankfully largely been retired out to pasture”.

ENDS


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