12 Oct 2012

Family Court changes not liked

6:04 am on 12 October 2012

An advisory group set up by the previous Minister of Justice is warning proposed changes to the Family Court pose serious risks for vulnerable parents and children.

Current Justice Minister Judith Collins announced changes in August which are estimated to save about $70 million over four years.

The former chair of the Expert Reference Group on Family Court reform, Antony Mahon, says the group was not consulted on some key issues.

Mr Mahon said the group has serious concerns about a fee of $900 for compulsory pre-court dispute resolution, and about children having a lawyer in only a limited number of cases.

He said the group identified significant cost savings which could be made without putting children at risk.

Ms Collins said the Expert Reference Group was helpful, but its advice was not the only basis for the reforms.