MENZ Issues: news and discussion about New Zealand men, fathers, family law, divorce, courts, protests, gender politics, and male health.


Filed under: Events,General,Law & Courts — mama @ 12:56 pm Fri 15th March 2019

Facilitated by Frank Hicks, Self Litigant and Parental Disputes Coach and Cheryl Simpson, Senior Associate Lawyer.

WORKSHOP: Rangitoto #04SLNG
DATE: Saturday 13 April 2019
TIME: 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
ADDRESS: 2 Osterley Way, Manukau, Auckland
VENUE: Ngahere Commumities
CONTACT: [email protected] for registration form
COST: Admission by Koha

Light refreshments provided for Morning and Afternoon Tea.
Pay and Display parking across from Venue.


  1. Hard to say for sure what’s going on in the Family Court now.

    This is off RNZ

    Spending on lawyers in the Family Court has rocketed, despite reforms five years ago aimed at slashing the court’s running costs.

    The previous government made the changes with the promise they would put children at the heart of the court’s work and save money.

    Those changes were aimed at encouraging parents to resolve access and care disputes without having to go to court with a lawyer.

    Announcing the changes in 2012 the justice minister at the time, Judith Collins, promised to reduce the stress on families by avoiding – where possible – the delays, conflict and expense of court proceedings.

    She also wanted to curb the costs of running the court, which she said had climbed from $84 million in 2004 to $142m in 2010, a 70 percent increase.

    Graphic: Costs of running Family CourtGraphic: RNZ
    The Ministry of Justice said it could not give a figure for the total cost of running the court now.

    But its figures show that after the reforms were introduced in March 2014 the money spent on non-departmental costs – mainly lawyers – rose from $41,550 million to $58,440m last year.

    And that jumps to a record $70,679m if the costs of domestic violence programmes are included.

    Law Society family law section chair Kirsty Swadling said clearly the reforms had not made the system any cheaper.

    “It clearly hasn’t done that and all the research seems to indicate that not only has it not reduced costs, but it’s increased delays and it’s increased frustrations for parents who are involved in this,” she said.

    Graphic: Legal aid costs for Family CourtGraphic: RNZ
    The figures show the amount spent on family legal aid has risen from $41,782m in 2014 to $45,152m last year, an 8 percent increase.

    And the cost of Lawyer for the Child have increased from $20,986m to $27,463m.

    Those lawyers are there to represent the best interests and views of children.

    “Sometimes where there are no lawyers involved and Lawyer for the Child is involved, that lawyer does get into a role of trying to help move things forward,” she said.

    But the figures do not include the costs of running the Family Dispute Resolution Programme, a mediation service introduced as part of the changes.

    Zayne Joumaa runs groups which help families struggling through the Family Court.

    He said the changes have left the Family Court in crisis and the system was a shambles.

    “South Auckland court is the worst affected by this. People they’re waiting for four years, five years for a court hearing and some people are waiting for back-up hearings, they cannot get a back-up hearing and people are frustrated and it’s affecting the court registry, the communication,” he said.

    Nelson lawyer Michelle Duggan said there were other consequential costs that were not reflected in the ministry’s figures, including the huge increase in the number of urgent applications.

    “What is the consequence for all of the parents who have had to wait longer to have the court resolve their parenting disputes, because of the increase in the applications.

    “And of course what about the children who have had to wait longer. And what about the increased workload, that court staff have had to manage,” she said.

    RNZ wanted to compare the court’s running costs now with 2010, when Judith Collins said it was $142m.

    When the ministry declined to provide the information, the case was taken to the Ombudsman.

    The ministry told the Ombudsman it was unable to give a figure and could not explain how Ms Collins came up with $140m, saying it cannot find the information given to her at the time.

    It said the figures prepared for Ms Collins were part of a substantial in-depth review and to re-do the project would be time consuming and expensive.

    The ministry also earlier told RNZ it was evaluating the reforms, but it now said that was not the case.

    Ms Duggan said she was surprised those figures were no longer accessible, particularly as the driver or motivation was to save costs.

    “So wouldn’t you want to have figures to prove that you have saved money?” she asked.

    A review into the Family Court is due to be presented to the Minister of Justice Andrew Little next month.

    Ms Swadling said there were some big lessons to be learnt.

    “Just taking lawyers out of the process, doesn’t have the effect of making it cost less. It emphasises that there are a number of disputes that actually need court involvement and that needs to be adequately funded.

    “And I think that they need to make sure that whatever any new processes look like, there is adequate funding for that.”

    She said the Family Court costs would just keep snowballing if the system could not resolve disputes at an early stage.

    National’s justice spokesperson Mark Mitchell declined to comment.

    Comment by Evan Myers — Tue 2nd April 2019 @ 2:03 pm

  2. Out of the previous comment is this.

    A review into the Family Court is due to be presented to the Minister of Justice Andrew Little next month.

    Comment by Evan Myers — Tue 2nd April 2019 @ 2:05 pm

  3. There is no doubt it is always going to be a wrangle.

    Comment by mama — Tue 2nd April 2019 @ 8:46 pm

  4. Alienated Grandparents Anonymous
    Families 4 Justice
    Father & Child Trust
    Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

    There are plenty of interested parties at the end of that link but those four are the only parent or whanau groups.

    Comment by Boonie — Tue 2nd April 2019 @ 10:15 pm

  5. ….and apart from MOMA, there is no one eye on the rights of Men NZ, considering the name Family
    in ‘family court’ stands for a man , a woman and their children, men seem to have little mention or say so in the above summary, thank you MOMA for being there, even though you are counted as an ‘other’ in their scheme of things.

    Comment by mama — Wed 3rd April 2019 @ 8:20 am

  6. There possibly a conflict there in that in the Court the legal demands are expressed as

    Man, Woman, and children.

    But being a political court the political interference is as you say,

    Man, Woman and her children.

    Jumping two hurdles with different legs whilst running in opposite directions is possibly a better way to express it.

    Comment by Evan Myers — Wed 3rd April 2019 @ 8:48 am

  7. #3. It is interesting to note that SIX people who I know of raised the issue of false affidavits and perjury in their submissions in person. Yet there is NO MENTION of it in the Summary of Submissions. To me, that means a few things…. they are not interested, they don’t care, they don’t know how to deal with it, they don’t know what to do about it OR that they realise that punishing people for perjury will see a lot of Mothers heading for jail.

    Comment by golfa — Wed 3rd April 2019 @ 11:24 am

  8. @7 The perjury issue goes back a long way.

    Prior to the days of SFST (Separated Fathers Support Trust) its founder Warren Heap took a private prosecution against his wife ( separated )

    You can see what happens in this post ( ) when this issue is common place and after such an extended period of time is now an accepted behaviour.

    Comment by Downunder — Wed 3rd April 2019 @ 11:40 am

  9. #7, golfa,, that subject was somewhat brought up in the summary under ‘without notice track’ but not dwelled upon and certainly not discussed,, and for sure downunder is must surely be acceptably swept under the carpet,,in the best interest of….at least it was ‘truthfully’ described as having been ‘MANY’ submissions breaching the subject of untruths.

    from the summary, linked above….
    “The without notice process undercuts natural justice and suffers from a complete lack of
    the checks and balances necessary when dispensing with such a fundamental principle.
    The process is, unsurprisingly, being abused as applicants have learned (or being
    advised by their lawyers) they can gain significant advantage by gaming the process and
    in practice can do so with impunity.” Parent
    Many submissions from parents raised concerns about parties making untruthful or
    inflammatory statements about the other parent or guardian to satisfy the threshold for a
    without notice application. Many were concerned there was little repercussion or penalty for
    untruthful statements made in the Family Court and suggested there should be more
    accountability. Some were concerned that this type of behaviour exacerbated and
    entrenched the conflict between parties and made it more difficult to come to a workable
    resolution for their children.

    In the case my family dealt with, lies were so abundantly used it made me unforgettably angry, made especially so because it was one oposing affidavit to many from our side, pointing surely to the fact that something was definitely wrong there,,, common sense could have prevailed at that early stage,,,it felt like insanity. Insanity of the situation was to rule in the end.

    Comment by mama — Wed 3rd April 2019 @ 1:54 pm

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