No one fronts up to oppose Collins’ Family Court Proceedings Bill

The Family Law section of the NZ Law Society has been lobbying its members to oppose changes proposed by Judith Collins in her Family Court Proceedings Bill.

oBviously, from the recent Bulletin just sent to members there isn’t much opposition because only one person has signed up to attend a workshop on how to prepare stock submissions all saying the same thing against the bill:

Family Law Section Bulletin, 29 January 2013


Wellington FLS regional representative, Rachael Dewar, had organised a meeting for FLS members in the wider Wellington region to meet to discuss and co-ordinate preparing individual submissions on this important Bill.  The meeting was to be held on Wednesday 30 January at 1-2pm at the Law Society Building, Level 8, 26 Waring Taylor Street.  
The meeting has been cancelled as we only have received one rsvp.

We do hope this does not mean that individual lawyers will not be preparing their own submissions on the Family Court Proceedings Bill.  Submissions are due to the Justice and Electoral select committee by 13 February.

Garry Collin

Looks like once again Judith Collins has got the balance just right in her proposed legislation.


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  • Mr_Blobby

    They have probably looked at the proposed changes and decided that it does not impact on the bottom line, or can be worked around, or it may actually be an opportunity to charge,

  • quirky_username

    I think you will find there will be many submissions in respect of this bill from lawyers. The reason for non-attendance at the meeting is more likely to be busy workloads and that lawyers have the ability to draft a submission without attending a meeting. For what it is worth the Family Law Section is specifically asking members to draft their own submissions with their own point of view and not advocating a stock submission.

    Whilst there are some parts of this bill that I am in agreement with (for example the modification of the role of lawyer for child), there are other parts that I believe will not promote justice or fairness in the resolution of family disputes.

    I will be making a submission.

    Disclosure time – I am a lawyer who practices in the area of family law. However my motivation for my submission against parts of this bill, in particular s7A (which prohibits legal representation in Courts except in specific exceptions), is not about income protection. Very little of my income comes from Care of Children proceedings and I do not believe that the bill if it were passed in it’s current form it would effect my income particularly dramatically. My concern is instead for the parties to Court proceedings and the children whose lives would be the subject of such proceedings.

    Lawyers play a valuable role in the Family Court system. Advice from and/or negotiation by competent counsel can mean that matters never go to Court in the first place, or if matters do continue, that they are resolved before the need for a hearing. When self-litigants are involved alternate dispute resolution is far more difficult. Lawyers can work through the party’s position by providing objectivity and reality testing what the party is seeking. We ensure that their evidence is relevant and complies with the rules of evidence. I have acted against many self-litigants and they simply do not have the objectivity to produce appropriate evidence. Having all parties self-represented will place a huge burden on Judges.

    Having representation levels the playing field for vulnerable parties. Imagine a victim of domestic violence having to represent themselves against the perpetrator of the violence to decide on the care of their children. There is a lot of misconceptions in family law about parents rights and responsibilities and without advice vulnerable parties will be bullied into accepting outcomes that are unfair and more importantly that are not in the best interests of the children.

    I understand the reason Judith Collins has proposed these changes – if no one can have lawyers then they don’t have to provide legal aid which in turn saves money. My concern however is that saving money in the short term is likely to have huge social costs in the long term.

  • Steve Taylor

    Oh I have a pretty good idea how Lawyers lobby, quirky_username. One method, as you are demonstrating right now, is to be afraid of their own name in public:

    • Bob

      A bit like a broken sad record, you and your cocksmoking mate Thane. Good tag team you both seem to have going on boys, you should just keep it in the sauna, more your style.

  • Lawyers don’t help matters in the Family Court because the incentives are all in the wrong place – the longer it goes on, the more they get paid – and they are always going to use every trick in the book to get the best result for their client – so the more cases we can get resolved out of Court the better – period.

  • Steve Taylor

    Oh Bob, playing the player and not the ball: thanks though for confirming the premise of my press release.