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Second round of consultation open on family justice reform

February 01, 2019 at 10:54 AM

From the NZFVC

The Independent Panel reviewing the 2014 Family Court reforms is running a second round of consultation. This consultation invites feedback on the Panel's suggested changes to the family justice system.

The deadline to submit feedback is 1 March 2019.

In their case for change in the consultation document, the Panel writes:

"There are issues which are undermining the effectiveness of the Family Court and related services for separating parents and families in conflict. The critical aspects include;

    • some elements of the 2014 reforms
    • administrative and operational changes made by the Ministry of Justice over time
    • increasingly complicated cases that involve family violence, drug use, poverty, mental health issues and the changing nature of family structures and relationships.

The review has exposed a system that is siloed, and which has even greater delays than occurred before 2014.

The Family Court and related services display a number of systemic issues. Some are a feature of the wider justice system, others reflect challenges within New Zealand society generally.

The critical issues include:

    • damaging delays
    • limited participation of children in the issues that affect them and no certainty that their voices are heard
    • monocultural services, processes and procedures
    • failure to recognise Te Ao Maori or incorporate tikanga Maori in procedures and processes
    • a general lack of responsiveness to diversity
    • no systematic accommodation of disabilities
    • a ‘one-size-fits-all’ model that is not flexible and not sufficiently responsive to the diversity and increasing complexity of families
    • concern about how the Family Court and related services deal with family violence and its effect on children and families
    • lack of accessible, quality information."

The Panel is proposing to bring together the Family Court and a range of services into a new structure called the Family Justice Service.

They are asking for feedback on a number of proposed changes. These changes and specific questions are outlined in the consultation document. The document is available on the Ministry of Justice website in English, Te Reo Māori and Easy Read. The Panel has also produced a questions and answers document.

Click here for more information

Category: Reviews