Family Court review

After an investigation finding a lack of efficiency and cost effectiveness the Family Court process are being reviewed.

Public feedback sought on Family Court review

Justice Minister Simon Power is calling for public feedback on a discussion document into the Government’s ground-up review of the Family Court.

“The Government is conducting this review over concerns that since 2004/05 the court’s overall costs have increased by 63 per cent (excluding judicial resourcing), from $83.9 million to $137.1 million while applications to it have remained relatively stable,” Mr Power said.

“And there’s little evidence that this huge cost increase has resulted in improved outcomes, particularly for vulnerable parties and children.

”The research is clear about the negative impact that persistent conflict has on children, and figures show that in 2009/10 it took an average of 306 days to complete a parenting order application compared to 216 days in 2006/07, an increase of 90 days.

“The escalating costs, for no apparent improvement in outcomes, indicate clearly that the Family Court is not as effective and efficient as it could be.

“A culture change is needed to encourage separating parents to resolve matters at the earliest opportunity, and before the conflict becomes entrenched in court.”

Mr Power has released a discussion document on proposed changes, with public submissions welcomed until February 29. The Public Consultation Paper can be downloaded here.

If you have been involved in proceedings in the Family Court you can contribute to a questionnaire:

Family Court Review Questionnaire

The Ministry of Justice is undertaking a review of the Family Court.  If you would like to learn more about the review and how to make a submission, please click here  to go to the Family Court Review homepage.

As part of the review we want to hear from people who have been involved in proceedings in the Family Court or who have sought advice from a lawyer about a family dispute.

The answers to this questionnaire will help shape any proposals for change in the way family law disputes are dealt with.

Family issues that result in court action can be difficult, even traumatic. Any attempt to make it easier and less costly is worthwhile.

Mr Power says the government’s vision for the Family Court is one in which:

  • Vulnerable people and children are protected and prioritised;
  • Access is well managed without unnecessary litigation;
  • Processes are simple, clear, consistent and certain;
  • Personal responsibility is emphasised and costs are met by users , where appropriate;
  • Decisions are logical, workable and durable, and
  • The system is affordable to taxpayers.
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