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Going to court without a lawyer? Research project of Self-Represented Litigants

Filed under: General — selfrepresented @ 9:06 am Wed 22nd May 2013

If you are currently representing yourself in the Family, District or High Court in Auckland or Waikato you may be eligible to participate in a research project on the self-representation in the New Zealand civil courts. Have your say on how the system could be improved to better serve the needs of self-represented litigants.

For more information see [this project appears to be defunct]


  1. After spending a small fortune (by my standards)on lawyers going to femily caught on several occasions as a respondant only to sit their silently as the chief clown, (judge) and Junior clowns, lawyers from both sides plus the junior junior clown, Council for child AKA Mummy’s back up lawyer participated in what can only be described as a circus, I wholeheartedly endorse self representation.
    When I finally decided bollocks Im not paying someone to sit placidly beside me as Im gettting royally shafted by these clowns, I’ll do it myself, then the whole process was a lot less stressful and less damaging to my mental health.
    Of course by then I had already had my naieve assumptions of justice and due process well and truly trampled from my previous visits to femily caught so I knew pretty much what to expect and the incompetance of those involved. If I had my time all over again I would have self represented from the start but made sure I had a McKenzie friend or someone who has been through the process to help me. As coming face to face with the female bias, trickery, uncaring and downright unlawful nature of this caught was a real eye opener and not something I would have ever comprehended before I attended.
    All the best to all of you caught up in this caught.

    Comment by Mits — Wed 22nd May 2013 @ 11:51 am

  2. Would never willingly step foot back in that hell hole called the family court. With or without a lawyer. I urge others not to waste their time, money and energy with it either.

    Comment by Scott B — Wed 29th May 2013 @ 9:28 am

  3. so how should I increase custody time from 35/65 to 50/50 without going to “hell hole”??

    Comment by Kumar — Thu 30th May 2013 @ 1:31 pm

  4. Unless you have a well balanced and reasonable ex then you don’t.

    Comment by Scott B — Thu 30th May 2013 @ 1:51 pm

  5. Scotty B, I second that comment in 2…… more people should refuse to participate in this sham system. Why waste your life getting judgements and agreements – with or without a lawyer – when at the end of the day they will never be enforced – especially if your a father, and no social service will help you, even when you are in the right……total waste of time. No sadly it seems the system wants you to lose your rag so you can wear the tag – angry, aggressive and violent – see told you so after pushing him in the face for years he finally reacted………this system will turn the most mild mannered law abiding person into a completely different individual altogether………..

    Comment by hornet — Thu 30th May 2013 @ 6:25 pm

  6. Agreed the entire family court system in NZ ALWAYS favours the mother unless the mother is a drug addict or murderer – even in those circumstances she could still get custody as the male species is always the stronger and more violent one. This is complete and utter BS so no matter how awesome of a dad you are to your child/ren it doesnt matter. whatever the mother says you have to do. just like you said a complete circus act where you have to do what the master says. save your time and money going through this process is a waste


    Comment by SK — Tue 30th September 2014 @ 10:14 am

  7. #6 SK

    You can always win in the long run.
    If you be a good father in the time you do have with your children.
    Eventually the inevitable happens.
    The child starts becoming an adult.
    And judges the parents.

    You don’t need money to fight for that.
    Having a Lawyer is a bonus, if the lawyer actually fights for you.

    We have a long list of battles ahead of us before we can achieve Judicial equality.
    Clearly the lawyers are not helping.
    If they were, all our problems would be solved.

    Comment by The man in Absentia — Tue 30th September 2014 @ 4:45 pm

  8. What would happen if a child was stolen from a female in a hospital. Or accidently swapped.
    There would be an inquiry, the police would be called and the offenders held to account.

    Yet around 17 times every day a male will walk out of a hospital with the child of another man in his arms.

    The hospital spends thousands to make sure the female is safe.
    But spends nothing to make the male safe.

    Compulsory paternity testing.
    I see an accident happening.

    And a giant class action law suit against ACC. For men that have been made by deceit into raising another mans child.
    There are hundreds of thousands of victims.
    All of them involve a defenceless new-born baby.

    It could wipe out all of ACC’s savings.

    Comment by The man in Absentia — Tue 30th September 2014 @ 5:39 pm

  9. I have been in and out of court for 3 years fighting for my children. I have been arrested for a crime I didn’t commit and been reduced to almost no time with my kids.. I have successfully defended every false allegation etc raised against me but at huge cost $20k and rising. With child support etc I have had to proceed without a lawyer. I am pretty lost in doing this and wonder if anyone can point me in the direction of a Mckenzie friend or someone who can help with this process?

    Comment by Jim — Mon 17th November 2014 @ 8:53 pm

  10. Where are you based Jim?
    The best McKenzie Friend is one who is local and you can meet with often to ensure both of you understand the case and how the Court system works.

    Comment by Allan Harvey — Mon 17th November 2014 @ 11:28 pm

  11. Hi Allan, thanks for your reply I am out in West Auckland.. I am aware of what a Mckenzie friend is and does, but I have no idea how to find one. I am willing to pay someone for their time and guidance in this process just not the ridiculous prices that lawyers charge.

    Comment by Jim — Tue 18th November 2014 @ 5:27 am

  12. Hey there I am a shoe from the other foot and am currently being railroaded by a mere male AKA dad of our 7 yr, MM lawyer and son the Lawyer for child. I am constantly served with variations to the parenting order. our son is in MM care alas this is not enough he wants full control and is making some serious allegations all untrue.
    I mucked up and chose to smack our sons bottom .. silly mistake I just loaded the gun for MM. now I am facing criminal charges and all sorts of accusations all far from truth. This is a living nightmare that if I was not such a resilient woman would have tipped me well over the edge.
    MM has a vast criminal, drug dependency n family violence history…. yet he is now Reformed… my how they worship those that are reformed its bollocks to say the least. im not bagging those that do reform im wondering how why WTF
    why do individuals feel the need to destroy others.
    An answer would be sublime! oh and any heads up with self representation too PLEASE 🙂

    Comment by Pauline — Tue 25th August 2015 @ 1:57 pm

  13. #12 Pauline
    It has been said on this site on a number of occasions that the system actually does not care if the person ostracised from their children is male or female. All that the system wants is conflict, so that those within the system can make money.

    Justice for the family court only takes place where one party or both have completely ran out of resources and can no longer fund the bullshit that you indicate you are entrapped within. It is true that many are so affected by the travesties of justice that this organisation commits in the community that the victims just walk away from it and give up. Some give up on life altogether.

    If you are forced into a position that means you have to represent yourself, it also means that you have got to a point that you probably have nothing to left to loose. I am assuming that he is trying to get 100% custody with you not being allowed to participate in the child’s life at all. This is not acceptable. It will always be better to be represented by a lawyer, however finding one that will fight for you, rather that feathering their own nest, is an all too common problem.

    Stop joining in the he did this, she did that game.
    Recognise your own faults and take steps to fix them. Enrol in a parenting programme, or living without violence programme, etc. Whatever is required to show the court that you are trying to move forward positively.

    If they attempt to go into the past, say ‘I don’t agree with their opinion, and I choose not to respond, all I care about is being a better parent for my child in the future’. You have not been able to get legal advice on these matters, due to financial constraints.

    Say that you have found it very difficult to be engaged positively in your child’s life due to the continuous changes to parenting orders.
    Ask the court to put together a plan that ultimately (long term plan) creates a 50/50 shared care situation. Ask what you should do to make that happen, while avoiding placing any of your own expectations on the ‘mere male’.

    The justice system feeds off peoples desires for revenge, and the desire to have power and control over others. Destroying others just sates the desires of narcissists. There is however the occasional person in the community that deserve at least some of those things.

    Good luck, it sounds like you will need it.

    Comment by DJ Ward — Tue 25th August 2015 @ 3:20 pm

  14. Dear Pauline,

    if you would like some tips on self representation, checkout that link or feel free to call me by telephone.

    The link just above records the seminar organised by Jim Bagnall, about self representation. In my opinion, it gives a good introduction.

    There is quite a lot of good information in the website. Use the search pane at the top right hand corner to find this information.

    It is important to take seriously the harm that familycaught$ can do to your family and actively protect yourself (and your wallet) against these rogues and thieves. Remember that it is your money that they are after! Sometimes they do do some good and the people on this website don’t give them enough credit, for the odd times that they do a little good!

    best regards,
    Murray Bacon.

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Tue 25th August 2015 @ 4:07 pm

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