Open up family court bill introduced in parliament
Posted at 8:06pm on 16 Aug 2007
A bill to officially introduce mediation in the Family Court has been introduced to Parliament.
The Family Courts Matters Bill aims to increase the openness of the Family Court and improve its processes and procedures.
One of the key proposed changes is the introduction of family mediation on a permanent basis.
Minister of Courts Rick Barker says mediation is one way of dealing with less complex family disputes quickly and is less costly.
He says the bill also opens up the Family Court to the media and support people.
It will also extend counselling to other family members, such as grandparents.
Copyright (c) 2007 Radio New Zealand
NZPA | Friday, 17 August 2007
The Family Court will be further opened to the media under a bill introduced to Parliament today.
Courts Minister Rick Barker said the bill would also change some processes and procedures.
"The Labour-led Government has already increased opennes for guardianship and other proceedings...and is now extending similar provisions to other Family Court proceedings," he said.
He said the Family Courts Matters Bill would:
* Allow accredited news media reporters to attend hearings of certain proceedings;
* Allow support persons to attend proceedings with the Judge's permission; and
* Allow anyone to publish a report on Family Court proceedings, providing there is no information identifying vulnerable persons or children without leave of the Court.
Process and procedure changes include:
* Allowing some administrative functions to be carried out by court registrars to relieve the pressure on Judges;
* Allowing Family Court fees to be set out in regulations and allowing fees to be waived in appropriate cases; and
* Extending the availability of counselling to people such as grandparents and other family members to help resolve matters about parenting orders and parenting agreements.