The Family Justice Reform panel has released its second consultation paper which examines the 2014 family justice reforms. The panel’s research has shown that for those who have engaged in FDR, it can be a ‘quick, affordable and effective process’. They therefore want to promote a higher level of participation in FDR.

Proposals contained in the report include:

• FDR should be available at the most appropriate time for parents, caregivers and their whānau, whether or not an application to court has been made

• where an application to court has been made but FDR not undertaken, the matter be referred to FDR, unless good reasons are given not to (rebuttable presumption)

• a clear process is outlined in the rules for the court to make direct referrals, addressing timeframes and how outcomes are reported back to the court (while keeping the ability for parties to abandon proceedings, if appropriate).

The report also highlights the need for more to be done to empower Māori in the justice system and to enable whānau to resolve family disputes in a culturally safe and appropriate way.

Emphasis is also given by the panel on the importance of participation of children in the justice system. Our Voice of the Child service gives the opportunity for children to be heard and have their voice represented in the FDR process.

Read the report in full here

Find out more about our FDR process here