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Panel announced to review 2014 FJS changes

17 August 2018

Today the Minister of Justice announced the Expert Reference Group to support the independent panel examining the 2014 family justice reforms.  “The Expert Reference Group (ERG) includes experts in child psychology, family law, mediation, kaupapa Māori research and family violence, along with representatives from key organisations in the family justice sector."

The ERG members are:

  • Professor Bill Atkin and Associate Professor Nicola Taylor: family law academics and researchers
  • Associate Professor Ruth Busch (retired): an expert on family violence
  • Catherine Cooper: General Manager of Resolution Institute (NZ)
  • Jill Goldson: family mediation specialist
  • Deborah Hart: Executive Director of the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institution of New Zealand
  • Simon Jefferson QC: leading family law practitioner
  • Dr Jan Pryor: psychologist and academic specialising in outcomes for children after parental separation
  • Professor Jacinta Ruru: kaupapa Māori research expert
  • Kirsty Swadling: family lawyer and Chair of the Family Law Section
  • Renuka Wali: psychologist and specialist court report writer

See the full announcement here>>  

1 August 2018

Today the New Zealand Minister of Justice Andrew Little announced the establishment of a panel to review the changes made to the family justice system in 2014, which included the introduction of FDR.   The Panel will be chaired by Rosslyn Noonan who is the current director of the Centre for Human Rights at Auckland University's Law School, and the former Chief Commissioner for the New Zealand Human Rights Commission.  Family lawyers La-Verne King and Chris Dellabarca have been appointed as Panel members.  

An Expert Reference Group is also being established to advise the Panel.  We understand that this group will include representation for the key professionals working in the family justice system, including from the judiciary, the New Zealand Law Society, the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand and the Resolution Institute.

The Panel is tasked with evaluating the changes to the family justice system made in 2014 and examining how they can be improved. The Panel will consider the 2014 reforms’ effectiveness in protecting the interests of children, and achieving safe and durable outcomes for them when resolving disputes about their care or contact. 

The panel is expected to report back to the Minister by May 2019.

See the Ministers full announcement including the panel terms of reference>>

At Resolution Institute we're looking forward to the opportunity to have input into the review, representing the views of members.  An initial RI working group has begun considering the opportunities and challenges in the family justice system and how FDR can be enhanced.  If anyone would like to be involved in this work please contact me.  A key focus for Resolution Institute will be pulling together and representing the range of views ot members, so we'll be asking for input, especially from New Zealand FDR Providers soon.  

Catherine Cooper
General Manager New Zealand