Child custody - image of family on broken heart

Review of Family Law Reforms Welcomed

The New Zealand Bar Association supports comments by Chief District Court Judge Jan Marie Doogue, that Family Court judges have been unfairly blamed for delays in resolving family disputes, following the introduction of the family law reform four years ago.  The delays stem, not from the Family Court, but from process design flaws contained in legislation which prevent parents from accessing early expert legal advice and guidance.

Attempts to remove lawyers from the administration of justice often prove to be counterproductive and the government is to be applauded for moving quickly to address this particular anomaly, says Association President Clive Elliott QC.

The announcement, by Minister of Justice, Andrew Little, of a review of these processes is welcomed by the Association, noting that involving lawyers at an early stage allows for parents to receive independent and objective legal advice, which often serves to either avoid or shorten court proceedings.

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