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Suicides prompt child custody shakeup

Filed under: General — gh @ 9:05 am Mon 12th April 2010

article here

A high suicide rate among people involved in Family Court custody proceedings has prompted the country’s top family judge to shake up the system.

The court is speeding up the way it deals with childcare disputes, particularly when they involve potential violence or abuse.

Principal Family Court Judge Peter Boshier said too many people were losing hope when cases dragged on, and were taking their own lives. “If they can’t see a solution in sight then what started off as depression becomes full-on hopelessness. I am driven by a desire to give people a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Between May 2008 and June last year, 18 people died from suspected suicide. Judge Boshier had anecdotal evidence that suggested the pattern was continuing.

Cases involving family break-ups often resulted in bitter disputes between parents.

“Some parents use the court as a battleground to vent their frustrations with the other parent, and being able to do that is more important than concentrating on the real issue.

“This can cause considerable delay in resolving the issues, which can be harmful to the welfare of the children caught in the middle of these conflicts.”

From Monday, the more than 27,000 cases filed each year that relate to children will enter the court’s new early intervention process.

Cases in which there are safety concerns for children will be treated swiftly.

Parents in non-urgent cases will be sent to counselling. If this fails they will move on to lawyer-assisted mediation and then a conference before a judge.

If the parents are still unable to reach an agreement the case will go to a full hearing before a judge, with wait times no longer than a month.

Judge Boshier said the new system would be quicker, cheaper and more effective than the old one, once Justice Ministry staff and lawyers adjusted to the changes.

“The . . . process is a landmark for the court and will be one of its most significant reforms since the Family Court was created in 1981.

“We have struggled to control our custody conflicts for a long time and there are still too many cases that are taking too long to proceed through the system. Children need stability restored to their lives after the trauma of family break up. It is vital to their welfare that the conflict surrounding them is reduced . . . as soon as possible.”

Mental Health Foundation chief executive Judi Clements was delighted at the changes, which would reduce families’ stress and anxiety. “I applaud the move.”
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Law Society spokesman Paul Maskell said the group also supported the move. “Cases will come to judges much sooner and many families will get results from court a lot more quickly.”


  1. I suspect the current goings-on in the Catholic church and the trouble the Pope is finding himself in today for not taking the future into account for decisions he made 20 years ago will have more than a few people of influence pausing for thought.

    Comment by rc — Mon 12th April 2010 @ 9:38 am

  2. Thanks gh.
    I read the following quote and wondered when Judge bullshite/Bolshier said it. Sorry for my cynicism but I have already lost hope…

    Principal Family Court Judge Peter Boshier said too many people were losing hope when cases dragged on, and were taking their own lives. “If they can’t see a solution in sight then what started off as depression becomes full-on hopelessness. I am driven by a desire to give people a light at the end of the tunnel.”

    Comment by noconfidence — Mon 12th April 2010 @ 12:46 pm

  3. @noconfidence,

    I published the two Family Court related articles on purpose.

    First notice the similarities of the language. Copy and Paste bonanza. There is no journalism involved and there is no Boshier answering the question. Typical cleric press release.

    I will believe in Boshier and in general in government when I see a full independent crown inquiry into the obscure dealings of the Family Court.

    Clearly The Family Court is trying to present itself as a service used by citizens by choice when faced up with a break-up. The truth is remotely close.

    Many Fathers are dragged and forced to go through the Family Court because his partner applied for a protection order. A protection order in many cases sought and encouraged by lawyers and the likes of Women’s Refuge. A protection order in most cases granted without notice, because as they say they are ‘serious’ when in fact it is a matter of judge CYA (cover your ass) culture. The opinion, views of the Father are never asked or sought after.

    The Family Court is trying to cover up their full responsibility in those suicides.

    The Family Court does not mention the many intra family murders of the last 2 years (mostly women and children) that are the result of incompetent, blunt, one sided Family Court intervention.

    These suicides and murders are the real harvest of the ‘It is not OK!’ campaign.
    A campaign sponsored and funded by the Labour goverment via Annette King to which
    judges without principles hurried to show results for.

    Boshier and the Family Court are incapable of solving family disputes by decree. They are not the solution they are the problem. The problem.

    Meanwhile it is business as usual. Judges will continue signing protection orders, documents prepared by Family Court Staff who are really the real Rasputin’s of the Court. Staff in full control of Womens Refuge.

    Comment by gh — Mon 12th April 2010 @ 1:37 pm

  4. Judge Boshier is sweet and innocent, compared to the majority of legal-workers, who also profit from the present practices in familycaught.

    These recent comments are very reminiscent of Judge Trapski, who certainly had his heart in the right place too. Judge Trapski made many promises about what the familycaught would do, through from about 1975 to 1982.

    These promises were kept, for a very short while, until legal workers realised exactly which side their bread was buttered on. Since then, their behaviour changed back, to that which gave them the best financial return, with a fierce determination never to change back to genuine customer service – for families.

    Remember that it only takes one legal-worker prepared to break ethics, or the law too!!! and then all of the legal workers involved (“judges” are are legal-workers too) can bank their share of ill gotten loot. The others aren’t taking any risk of being jailed, but they knowingly profit and benefit from being “blind” to the ethical and legal breaches.

    The present criticism of legal-worker’s-aid lawyers is missing the point. Maybe it is them rorting the taxpayer directly and on the other party, rorting an individual taxpayer. However, it is the lazy greedy “judges” who allow them to get away with it!!!!! These “judges” are the villains of the piece, they should be awarding costs against legal-worker’s-aided parties, but they protect the thieving legal-worker’s-aid lawyer, which profits themself, as otherwise they might not have a job as a “queen’s judge”.

    The Legal Services Agency put up a fairly good fight, to protect the taxpayer’s interest, but they were stymied by the “judges” interests. Lookup LSA versus HC appeal, there are many such cases…

    Without rorting legal-worker’s-aid lawyers, NZ could happily get better justice, but with barely half the number of “judges”. It seems “our” “judges” are self-servingly dumb, when it comes to understanding the meaning of conflict-of-interest!!!!!!

    The present NZ system of not managing conflicts of interests of “judges” is medieval.

    Modern democracies requires judges to declare their financial interests (honestly!!!!) and also their wider family connections. Before any case is heard, the parties interests are database checked against the available judge’s interests and the judge selected accordingly. Democracies value having available judges, with simple straightforward financial interests, thus not subject to wide and unclear conflicts of interest. The cost of setting up a similar database in NZ would be far less, than the cost of just the present judge bill wilson conflict-of-interest entertainment. Doubtless, there are many other similar conflicts, not yet publicly exposed, but detracting from the justice of “our” caughts. Although it is claimed that judge bill wilson is in a minority of NZ “judges”, in his attitude to conflict-of-interest, the absence of public comment from any serving NZ judge, hints that the majority of NZ “judges” have very loose attitudes to justice versus secret conflict-of-interest.

    In NZ, “judge’s” conflicts of interest are usually exposed to public view, only long after the appeal period has closed, making it much more difficult to get a re-hearing.

    Against this background, deciding cases by the flip of a dice would give more reliable justice and would be cheaper (no superannuation costs for a dice!!).

    Before you post a dice to the justice department, we can aim higher!

    We should appoint judges just for each hearing. Let the litigants pay for the judge, so that if they delay the hearing, they bear the exact cost of what they are wasting. Let them choose the judge they want, by quality, skills and price.

    Buyer selection would be remarkably more effective than the present justice department appointment procedures, in obtaining cost effective judicial service.

    It would also largely remove the risk of judges taking holidays, resulting in retrials. Those legal-workers could just go back to doing conveyancing and writing threatening letters for clients.

    So, hearing boshier’s promises gives a strong sense of deja vu, from over 30 years ago. Why believe these old promises, when they are soooo old and could have been honoured at any time in the last 30 years, but never were?

    These issues plague familycaught, in the same way that they plague all NZ caughts:

    Customer choice and selection can achieve what legal-workers have been promising for 30+ years. This is because customers well informed CAN manage conflicts of interest, where justice department and chief justice NOT WELL INFORMED cannot.

    Quality justice should be much cheaper and safer, than our present system of weak and poor accountability of “judges”. Having judges tender for each job and then be selected by the customer can achieve far better outcomes.

    Cheers, MurrayBacon.

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Mon 12th April 2010 @ 1:54 pm

  5. Well said GH.

    Its a sad reflection on the profession of journalism that Boshires spin machine can keep generating this type of unsubstantiated tripe and get it published.



    Comment by Scrap_The_CSA — Mon 12th April 2010 @ 1:56 pm

  6. I am driven by a desire to give people a light at the end of the tunnel.”
    Yeah but that light could be attached to the train that is going to steam right over the top of you.

    I dont care, I just want to seem to care by twatting on about how much I care.
    My Salary as a judge means more to me than the fodder my caught processes.

    Comment by mits — Mon 12th April 2010 @ 2:29 pm

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