23 Aug 2018

Prominent legal expert says Family Court needs reform

From Nine To Noon, 9:27 am on 23 August 2018

Calls for reform of the family court system and the need for more resources are being backed by a prominent international expert on legal issues related to children and families in the justice system.

Professor Nicholas Bala from Canada's Queen's Law School says while family dispute resolution works in many cases, much better resources are needed for the most difficult ones.

He's calling for a clearer and more effective role of Oranga Tamaraki in high conflict separations, as well as faster assessments, and more lawyers being brought in at the early stages.

An overhaul of the Family Court in 2014 put the onus on parents to resolve custody disputes, causing a dramatic increase in urgent applications. Professor Nicholas Bala's work in this area has been cited by all levels of court in Canada, including the Supreme Court, as well as by courts in New Zealand, America England, Singapore and Australia.

Professor Bala speaks with Lynn Freeman