A bill to modernise the family justice system and make it more accessible to those who need it most has passed its first reading in Parliament today.
Associate Justice Minister Chester Borrows says the Family Court Proceedings Reform Bill is the first step towards addressing the serious concerns about the Court raised by court users including the public, judges, lawyers and counsellors.
“Today is an important milestone towards creating a modern and accessible family justice system that is more focused on the needs of children and vulnerable people who most need its protection.
“Our changes will refocus the Family Court on resolving disputes that need a judicial decision. We want to encourage faster, less adversarial resolution of simple family issues outside court and empower judges to focus on the most serious cases,” says Mr Borrows.
Key features of the Family Court reforms are:
“Our changes will make the Family Court a more efficient and effective part of the wider justice system.
“I encourage anyone with an interest in the Family Court to have their say on the changes by making a submission to the Justice and Electoral Committee that will consider the bill,” says Mr Borrows.
More information about the Family Court reform is available at www.justice.govt.nz.