Lawyers prepared for new Family Court system

Lawyers prepared for new Family Court system

28 March 2014

New Zealand’s family lawyers are ready to participate in ensuring New Zealand’s Family Court system functions for the benefit of all parties when major reforms come into force on 31 March, the New Zealand Law Society says.

Family Law Section chair Garry Collin says the Law Society has been involved in a major educational programme to ensure all family lawyers are adequately prepared for the new regime.

“We have worked hard to prepare for the new system. It is true that lawyers still have misgivings on some matters. However, it is very clear that family lawyers are committed to doing their best to make the new system work,” he said.

“Parliament passed the enabling legislation in September 2013. Our key focus since then has been on working constructively with the Government and the Ministry of Justice to provide practical advice, suggest improvements where we can, and to give feedback on the impacts the reforms will have on those who use and access the Family Court system.”

Mr Collin said the Family Law Section would continue to provide detailed feedback to the ministry on the practical impact of the changes on everyone involved with the Family Court.

“These include the increased number of people representing themselves in court processes, court staff and judicial resourcing, a changed cost structure, and the accessibility of information on processes and how people will operate in the new environment.

"All of these are matters of great importance and it is crucial that the rights and access of individuals to justice are not lost in the inevitable teething problems of the new family justice system."

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