New Zealand is important,
because a great deal of pressure comes from radfems to make the UK follow the
NZ approach to family breakdown and family courts.†† Ivor Catt†† 10may02
Not long ago the Dominion was estimating, in an article, that the legal aid
bill would top NZ$ 100m.
Are these new figures a fiddle or accurate do you think ?
From: Manumit Exchange <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Manumit Exchange <Manumit@yahoogroups.com>
Date: 26 April 2002 04:40
Subject: [MANUMIT] (NZ) Tax payers fund $95,000 Family Court case
>Muriel Newman (NZ politician) got this on Page 2 of the Dominion today,
>plus time on Radio Pacific this morning. The Radio Pacific
>gave a very good overview of the Family Court's deficiencies. The
>Bill Ralston, repeatedly said what a mess the Family Court is.
>It gets harder and harder for the Government to ignore what is going on
>in the Family Court.
>26 April 20021
>Tax payers fund $95,000 Family Court case
>It has cost taxpayers more than $95,000 to fund legal aid for New
>Zealand's most expensive Family Court case.
>According to figures obtained by ACT NZ MP Muriel Newman, the Legal
>Services Agency has paid $95,049 excluding GST for one case, which has
>yet to be resolved.
>In reply to Parliamentary questions, Justice Minister Phil Goff said it
>was possible the case's cost would climb further.
>Mr Goff said in 2001 the agency had provided funding for about 32,700
>Family Court cases, up 100 on the previous year.
>According to the most recent figures available, $39.2 million was paid
>to Family Court lawyers in legal aid in 1999/2000 and $33 million to
>lawyers for criminal cases.
>Further figures obtained by Ms Newman also show that some people are
>waiting nearly a year for their cases to be heard in the Family Court.
>As at April 16, families in Hastings, Levin and Palmerston North had
>been waiting 44 weeks for their cases to be heard. In Auckland a family
>had been waiting 40 weeks and in Papakura 36.
>Ms Newman said with $95,000 so far being spent on one case, she felt
>the system was out of control.
>"I know from the work I've done in this area (Family Court) that the
>system perpetuates so many appeals."
>Ms Newman said she knew of one case which had started in the Family
>Court, passed through the High Court and Appeal Court back to the
>Family Court, with it now back in the High Court again.
>"The system is using the taxpayer as a cash cow to sort these things
>out. It is in urgent need of reform."
>The case delays were also having a tremendous emotional impact on the
>Ms Newman said if the Family Court was opened to the public and media
>it would help reduce the cost of cases.
>When family courts in Australia and America were opened up, the volume
>of litigation dropped.
>Families there were now sorting their problems out through mediation
>rather than litigation.
>Ms Newman said there was growing support from judges for a reform of
>the Family Court.
>Victoria University associate Professor Bill Atkin, who specialises in
>family law, said the Justice Ministry and Law Commission were reviewing
>the court but he did not expect wholesale changes.
>Professor Atkin said there was still a strong feeling that where
>children were involved, their privacy should be protected.
>He did not believe that simply opening the court up would act as a
>circuit breaker that would prevent expensive intractable cases.
>Cases involving the custody of children were still going to be long and
>the right of appeal needed to be maintained.
>However, there should be ways of better managing difficult cases.
>In the last month the rules for providing legal aid have been attacked
>by opposition MPs after it was revealed that seven members of the
>Tukuafu family received $1,145,000 in aid to defend 261 charges, mostly
>for burglary. The total cost of the trial was nearly $2.5 million.
>They were convicted of 247 charges and received sentences ranging from
>periodic detention and a suspended sentence to 13 and a half years'
>The legal aid bill has dropped to $84 million from $92 million since