$62 million package to support families through the Family Court

May 15, 2020 at 3:32 PM

From Beehive.govt.nz


The Coalition Government has made a significant $62 million investment from the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund to start the reform of the Family Court and enable it to respond effectively to the increased backlog caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today Justice Minister Andrew Little introduced the Family Court (Supporting Families in Court) Legislation Bill. The Bill forms part of the $62 million package designed to:

  • Restore the right to legal representation at the start of a case in the Family Court;
  • Allow parties to those proceedings, where eligible, to access legal aid;
  • Establish Family Justice Liaison Officers and produce better information resources to help parents and whānau navigate the system;
  • Increase remuneration for lawyers for children to incentivise the recruitment and retention of skilled practitioners.

It is expected that a second Bill focused on strengthening the Family Court will follow later this year, which will:

  • Enhance children’s participation in proceedings that affect them;
  • Ensure that children feel supported and informed as they move through the Family Court process;
  • Expand lawyers’ duties in care of children proceedings.

“We are committed to taking action to ensure New Zealanders have a Family Court that is safe for participants, sensitive to their needs, and where every party has their voice heard fairly and appropriately,” Andrew Little said.

“Families and whānau who come before the Family Court are already at a particularly trying and stressful time in their lives, and Court can be a confusing and intimidating place for many who currently have to self-represent. We want families and whānau to be well-supported with early advice so issues can be fairly and expeditiously resolved,” Andrew Little said.

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Category: Government