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Judge speaks up on Family Court criticisms

Filed under: General,Law & Courts — domviol @ 9:06 pm Mon 19th June 2006

Judge speaks up on Family Court criticisms

Saturday June 10, 2006
By Chris Barton

Graeme MacCormick retired as Family Court judge in December after serving 15 years on the bench. Here are his views on men’s groups’ protests.

Will judges be intimidated by the men’s groups’ protests?

I do not perceive the judges of the court will be in the least influenced in their decision-making by any protest outside their homes. They have a job to do on behalf of the community. The children whose lives are affected are the children of their birth parents and also children of the community.

What often seems to get overlooked in criticisms of the Family Court is that the originating problems brought to it are not of the court’s making. There are frequently power and control issues between the birth parents or between them and subsequent caregivers.

Many in the men’s groups vent a lot of anger. What’s behind this?

Anger is a natural emotion which shows other people our boundaries. It is precisely where our boundaries lie and the way we deal with our anger that counts. Anger that is not properly dealt with too often leads to physical outbursts and assaults and is, quite frequently, a feature of the more difficult Family Court cases.

Where I think men – as a broad generalisation – find themselves disadvantaged is when women have been the primary caregivers before separation and men have been the primary providers.

When the relationship breaks down and the woman tries to hold on to her role to the substantial exclusion of her former husband or partner, then the father is left with resort to the Family Court, which is not always resourced to be able to respond as quickly as the father – or indeed the court – would like. Nor might the outcome be exactly what either partner wants, depending on the circumstances and the perceived welfare and best interests – and views – of the child or children. Those are the determining factors with the law as it stands.

The protesters want equal parenting as the default position of the court in decisions about the care of children. What’s your view of that?

I question whether they are going about that in the right way. They need to convince a majority of members of parliament of the need for a law change and that it will be best for children. Men’s groups would need good research to back their position.

In the meantime, the judges of the court will try to apply the law, as it stands. It seems to me there is little point in attacking judges as a body for doing that.

I doubt that you are likely to achieve change by targeting the wrong people. Good, positive time with both birth parents, subject to issues of physical and emotional safety, is clearly the ideal. In an increasing number of cases that is equal time.

But sometimes extreme, ongoing conflict between birth parents, both locked in a battle over their children that they become ever more determined to win, makes this impossible to achieve.

Sometimes children have had so much conflict in their lives, without being able to see an end to it, that very occasionally and as a last resort a choice may need to be made for care by one birth parent to the exclusion of the other, hopefully temporary.

Men’s groups say the court grants protection orders against men too easily.

There have also been complaints, on behalf of women, that “without notice” applications for protection orders under the Domestic Violence Act were not being granted readily enough and that too many were being placed “on notice”, with significant physical risk to women and children. This demonstrates the difficulty of satisfying everybody. When temporary protection orders are made without notice, in perceived situations of a threat to safety, and when children are involved, the court is increasingly scheduling a review of the temporary order within one or two weeks.

Men’s groups also complain about mothers making false testimony to the court.

For “false testimony” one can often substitute “a different perspective or perception”. If there is genuinely false testimony before the court and it is not acknowledged or corrected and it is material provided with intent to deceive the court, this can clearly ground a prosecution for perjury. On occasion, the Family Court will refer a matter of perceived perjury to the police for consideration of prosecution. Anything in the nature of deliberately false evidence or misleading testimony will almost inevitably be counter-productive to the position of the person on whose behalf it is provided.

The protesters say they are targeting lawyers because they lie to the court. Why would they make such claims?

This probably refers to the lawyer for the children, with whom dissatisfied litigants of both genders will frequently take issue. Their job is to represent the child or children independently of the parents or caregivers.

Their client is the child. But they are not meant to give evidence to the court – as opposed to making submissions based on the evidence.

It is, however, normal for the lawyer for the child to advise a child’s views and the child’s instructions, if the child is able to provide them. That may not be exactly what the child has said to his or her parents.

What do you think of the men’s groups’ tactics?

Men’s groups can frequently be helpful in providing a “McKenzie friend” or support person for a father acting on his own behalf. Likewise they fulfil a useful purpose in keeping before the public the importance of birth parents to children.

But Family Court judges are well aware of this and need no reminding. Men’s groups need to be carefully focused if they are not to be counter-productive.

I suspect that the protests may, in their targeting, say more about the protesters than about the operation of the court. If their intention is to embarrass, harass or intimidate might not similar traits and tactics have been factors in the breakdown of their marriage or relationship?

– More by Chris Barton
– Email Chris Barton


  1. hi domviol,

    Good and helpful post.

    Comment by julie — Mon 19th June 2006 @ 11:19 pm

  2. Graeme MacCormick is obviously off somewhere in lalaland.
    Thank God he’s retiring.
    Then he problably wants to keep ego intact upon retirement instead of going anywhere near acknowledging the horrendous irrevocable damage the femily caught star chamber does to so many fatherless kids.
    His comments insult the intelligence of many a good dad who’s been through his kangaroo court.
    This is the best we can get for our hard earned tax-dollars.


    Comment by Stephen — Tue 20th June 2006 @ 1:26 am

  3. Spoken like a true Sophist.

    1. (He passed the buck) Implying that it is “the government” men should be protesting (I guess the judical activism claims across the English speaking world in countless books is not to be found in NZ)-I feel much better about this problem when an ex-judge doesn’t even ackknowledge problem even exists!

    Men would be right also in saying the government often says it is out of our hands too.(checks and balances now becomes the toss of the hot potato).

    2.(Stiff upper lip) He is not afraid of men movements’ protesting for they are the cool rationalists, while we are the angry white men (notice how at the end he blames this hot headed male attitude for the protesting and marriage break up) This is BLANKETING of the worst kind! Where are all you people who dislike mere generalizing now. A judge has indirectly suggested(as sophists have always done) that all men who protest aggressively have caused intimidation, harassment and embarressment to their ex-wives too.

    I bet most of you will let this slide. They are allowed to blanket while we can’t even generalize. This is just a perfect example of the game many are playing with themselves(this time it is an ex-judge). This is pure racism, and if it weren’t directed at men by a man we would be getting it all over the news non-stop.

    The list of Anglo-Saxon courts giving in to pressure by protests in the past and present is very long, so I’ll spare you the history lesson.

    3.(Simply dismissive) False claims and bad court orders don’t happen. One needs to be very smug and lift the nostils high and speak with a PC accent to carry this off. Brown nosers go for this every time.

    4.Wrapping oneself in the community is only less becoming than wrapping oneself in a child, and this guy does both and tries to extend it to the lawyers. Shakespeare idea of:

    killing of the lawyers in the next revolution

    must have been thus inspired!

    These comments come from a Canadian, so I violate none of your big brother laws NZ KGB.

    Comment by Intrepid — Tue 20th June 2006 @ 3:10 am

  4. interesting how this maccormick ( or should i call him Mac- Comical probably a cousin once removed to MacDonalds) guy refuses to acknowledge provocationary tactics utilised by these “good women” that is a major cause of marriage breakdown.

    Comment by starr — Tue 20th June 2006 @ 1:21 pm

  5. False Allergations, ‘prosecution for perjury’, anyone had the other partie charged with this after they gave “a different perspective or perception” but really they lied! If the FC is so upright then why is my cousin in jail from ‘false allergations’ Judge? 15 years spend destorying ppls lives, I’d say it is about time to retire.

    Comment by jadie — Tue 20th June 2006 @ 1:33 pm

  6. judge MacCormack fails to find any fault with the conflict-based resolution process and its inherent tactics that reward delays and dishonesty. the legal fraternity profits while children are denied having a father who is given the time to play any worthwhile role in their lives. Men are left with no choice but to go through the court process at their own expense while the mother receives legal aid. lawyers, always keen to bury their snouts deeper into the public trough, often advocate that legal aid should be extended to men as well but that is not the answer. the answer is compulsary mediation, followed by adjucication if needed without any common law nonsense and with the dispute resolved within a proscribed time on the principles of natural justice.

    Comment by Doug — Tue 20th June 2006 @ 3:08 pm

  7. Finally, a judge who is able to actually see past the ‘fathers are god’ rubbish and say what thousands of us already knew … fathers are not always right, and allegations are not always false. It’s a shame he’s retiring – he’d be a nice balance to the chauvinistic judges out there who are actually intimidated by protesters and men adamant on being able to continue their abuse and manipulation of their children (and ex) with the Court’s support.

    Comment by taryn — Wed 21st June 2006 @ 11:01 pm

  8. Taryn is at least able to give it to us direct, for once. It’s kind of refreshing, in a way, to have a stand up fight.
    If it weren’t for the destruction that has befallen families, in the wake of Taryn and co. and their blanketing of males at a governmental level, we could smile and let it fall off a duck’s back. Unfortunately many in the men’s movement bend over backwards trying to prove to people like Taryn we aren’t her worst nightmare. We will lose when we let them say we can’t get angry, while they are allowed to put passion into their hysterics. Our calm disunity makes us seem unsure, to those who sit on the fence, for many mistaken passion for truth in wake of studying the issue in any detail. In such a busy world who can study so many issues in enough detail to be well informed on everything.

    Some food for thought for your moderates:

    Veuillot: When I’m weaker, I ask you for my freedom, because that is your principle; but when I am the stronger, I take away your freedom because that is my principle.

    Winston Churchill: They are decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent.

    Cato (the Elder): Some men are more beholden to their bitterest enemies than to friends who appear to be sweetness itself. The former frequently tell the truth, but the latter never.

    John Mill: A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

    Aristotle: The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal


    Anita Brookner: A complete woman is probably not a very admirable creature. She is manipulative, uses other people to get her own way, and works within whatever system she is in


    Marcus Fabius Quintillian: Whilst we deliberate how to begin a thing, it grows too late to begin it.

    Socrates: Once made equal to man, woman becomes his superior.

    Florence King: The best way to bottle up anger is to turn men into women. After years of consensus seeking, reaching out, coming together, building bridges, linking arms, and tying yellow ribbons, the feminization of America is now complete. American men have been turned into their own secret police, under orders to kick down their own doors in the middle of the night and arrest themselves for insensitivity.

    George Orwell: Since pacifists have more freedom of action in countries where traces of democracy survive, pacifism can act more effectively against democracy than for it.

    Sorel: Fraud rather than violence has become the more usual road to success and privilege. Naturally, therefore, those who are more adept at fraud than at force take to humanitarian ideals.

    Thomas Carlyle: No man lives without jostling and being jostled; in all ways he has to elbow himself through the world, giving and receiving offence.

    My words won’t reach some, maybe these great minds can. Taryn and her like’s control of events must be answered with something sterner than the ideas that got us in this hole in the first place. Many have stopped trying to marry and mate with these kinds of women, but still dabble or immerse themselves in their ways all the same. Only such thinking would allow women to flip back and forth between the old ways and the news ways and not receive logically directed anger at this deadly game. Only men who are in love with love would let this go on and on. Maybe we are suffering from the generation brought up by their mothers alone, and hate their stoic fathers. I for one am ready to fight Taryn types hard, even if I scare DB, Wayne and more. Boo!

    Comment by Intrepid — Thu 22nd June 2006 @ 1:10 am

  9. Taryn,
    Who said father’s are God.
    Notice I don’t end that sentence with a question mark. For good reason – Over the years I’ve spent thousands of hours in conferences, groups, online, in libraries, bustops, clubs, pubs, virtually anywhere you could imagine where I’ve been listening to all things related to fathering and the men’s movement for decades now.

    So Taryn, thanks for the straight talk, here’s some in return.

    You appear to be using standard feminst tactics – trying to make the opposing viewpoint holders seem extreme.t’s backfiring on you sweetheart.

    I reckon your lying pure and simple.
    And what’s more you’re probably doing so because you feel threatened.

    You are.

    The family wrecking feminist gravy train which sucks dry families, communities and nations is coming under increasing fire from folks who realise they too or folks dear to them have been shafted.

    Watch out, you’re going to create allot of enemies with your vitriol.

    Comment by Stephen — Thu 22nd June 2006 @ 1:40 pm

  10. I am so glad for the thousands of hours that have been spent by males around this subject. It has got us to where we are today.

    And my day has been a buzz. Remarks from males have been and like “Fantastic, it’s about time” and from women, “My husbands going to love you, he is sick of all the feminists.”

    I had no idea there was so much support from professional people.

    Now we just need for the ordinary people to know what the intellectual people have always known.

    Hi Taryn,

    Please keep commenting. There’s much to figure out.

    Comment by julie — Thu 22nd June 2006 @ 2:15 pm

  11. Damn,

    Probably should never use the word ‘Ordinary.’ If it affends, I apologise.

    Comment by julie — Thu 22nd June 2006 @ 4:54 pm

  12. Dear Taryn,

    It is a shame people of your ilk get jollies by advancing utter garbage to stir up hostilities between people who have or are suffering through a corrupt judicial Family Court System.
    You haven’t a backbone to stand without anonymity behind what you perceive to be fact and guttersnipe from the fringe.

    men adamant on being able to continue their abuse and manipulation of their children (and ex) with the Court’s support.

    Presumably with the above statement you concur a lot of skullduggery is active within the family Court through unethical legal workers but you have placed the onus on men being the culprits.
    I would challenge you to provide hard data to advance your position, whereby injustice through continued abuse sanctioned by the State on behalf of the male gender is clearly shown.
    If you are unable to show a consistency of this nature, please stick to Celebrity Gossip websites.

    Kind Regards

    Comment by Paul Catton — Thu 22nd June 2006 @ 5:40 pm

    is equivalent to no more than a prison visit, family court judges playing prison wardens, what next…

    The Family Court and the Nazi and Communist regimes all engaged in the politics of fear, that undermines the first principle of an open society: critical thinking

    Two hundred and thirty million dollars expenditure siphoned from the taxpayer each year in to a false ideology and it’s hanger on’s,
    i.e. fudges, family court lawyers, law society, supervision centres, counsel for child, psychologists all with the help of “child ownership laws”, they used to burn this kind at the stake not too long ago, theres a word for those that interfere with children Mr Boshier and you fit it more than adequately…

    What is wrong with just the simplicity of Hands on equal parenting ?

    That would soon stop the protests that is agitating many of you retired
    fudges as current fudges are too afraid to speak out or have any intellect to actually realise we have a problem here in New Zealand that requires a solution
    via a debate, to stop the damage of future generations by those that like to interfere with our children.

    Comment by cwb — Sat 24th June 2006 @ 5:21 pm

  14. a family court judge that can not deliver instant access, first hearing is no more than a paedofile, i have been in contact with four family court judges that have interefred with the mental wellbeing of my son over the last seven years, judge dazlesden, judge o’donovan, judge mc aloon and judge grace, they should all be sacked.

    Comment by cwb — Sat 24th June 2006 @ 5:49 pm

  15. yes, you denied my son a father.

    Comment by cwb — Sat 24th June 2006 @ 5:51 pm

  16. Hmmm…well put cwb.
    I estimate that the NZ taxpayer has paid out $100-$150k to stop my son and I continuing the relationship we enjoyed prior to separation.
    The mother swore in her first affidavit that we both cared for our son full time, and she didn’t know who the better parent was.
    So why have the public paid so much money to these thieves simply to keep my son and I apart? (because of the secrecy)
    As for judge McAloon, she should not be allowed near children at all!
    Hardened criminals would feel intimidated by her evil behaviour, let alone dads wanting to be effective fathers. If the public knew how she behaved in court, her head would be paraded around town on the end of a stick.

    Comment by Wayne — Tue 27th June 2006 @ 8:25 am

  17. this was the male mc aloon in my case, the childs mother tried to put a protection order on me without any foundation to stall my access application, so I refused to attend the hearing out of principle, the protection order was naturally not granted and my access application was stalled again for my non-appearance while the childs mother is not answerable to any of this chaos she ie subjecting the child to; it’s unbelievable, all factual too, fudges sell their soul to the highest bidder in New Zealand.

    Comment by cwb — Wed 28th June 2006 @ 9:13 pm

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