Thursday, 13 June 2013

New Family Court consumer website has lawyers 'up in arms'
A new Family Court Consumer website has Consumers cheering, and Lawyers up in arms, says Steve Taylor, Convenor of

"If you are a Family Court Consumer who wishes to anonymously share their experience of the New Zealand Family Court process, then we want to hear from you" says Mr Taylor.

In 2011, the Ministry of Justice embarked on a review of the Family Court.

In 2013 - 14, the results of this review will most likely pass into Law.
In the entire review, the Consumers voice was almost totally ignored, and / or actively silenced by the Legal profession, the Justice & Electoral Select Committee process, and the mainstream media, save for a first-person survey which illustrated some appalling service-provider results, for example:

- 38% of respondents had a case still proceeding in the Family Court;
- 79% of respondents had to attend the Family Court to settle a dispute.
- 53% of respondents required a Court order in order to settle a dispute.
- 61% of respondent’s lawyers had advised them to take Court action in the first instance.
- 47% of respondents felt that their Lawyers were not helpful to them in their dispute.
- 84% of respondents felt that Counselling was not helpful to them in their dispute.
- 35% of respondents nominated none of the Family Court services as being helpful to them in their dispute (including Counselling, Mediation, Parenting through Separation, and negotiation between lawyers).
- 46% of respondents found no relevance for a final Parenting Order.
- 54% of respondents rated their Lawyer for Child as "not competent"
- 51% of respondents rated their Counsellor as competent, while only 32% of respondents rated their

Court-appointed Psychologist as competent (If Counselling is to face the axe in these reforms, then by this result, Court appointed Psychologists should be facing the axe even quicker than Counsellors, who are deemed by service users to be more competent than Court-appointed Psychologists).

- 43% of respondents nominated none of the available Family Court professionals as being helpful to them in their dispute (including Judges; their own Lawyer; Lawyer for Child; the Court appointed Psychologist (who rated "0"); Counsellors; or Mediators).
- 74% of respondents nominated preferences to dispute resolution away from the Family Court.
- 82% of respondents nominated the Family Court process as having had a negative impact on their children.
- 72% of respondents were very dissatisfied with the time it took the Family Court to settle their dispute.

Despite this attempt to silence legitimate Consumer dissent, a number of reforms destined for the Statute books appear to more fully support the voice of the Consumer to resolve the issues at hand, while rightly side-lining incompetent Counsellors, Psychologists & Lawyers, & Lawyer-for-Child in the process.

There are many stories of the damage that Court "professionals" have wrought in cases concerning families and children - and even Judges have not been excused from this legitimate exposure.
When one considers that children who are exposed to the Family Court process are estimated to lose an average of 5 years life expectancy the so-called "best interests of the child" mantra rings rather hollow when espoused by those who are most significantly contributing to the damage.

The website is the forum to share your experience - and while we will keep your name and the names of your children anonymous, the "professionals" won’t be enjoying the same anonymity.

So welcome to - now, let’s hear your story, and let’s put your story in front of the decision-makers, and the "Court" of public opinion.


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