Legal representation in the Family Court

Article Published : 07.07.2020

With effect from 1 July 2020, the right for parties to have legal representation in the Family Court from the beginning of their case, in all cases, has been reinstated. 

Prior to this, a law reform in 2014 meant that parties to non-urgent guardianship and parenting (care of children) disputes could not have legal representation in the Family Court until their proceedings reached a hearing.

As a result of the recent change users of the Family Court will have greater access to legal advice and support in what can be a stressful, emotional and difficult time. 

If you have active proceedings before the Family Court that were filed before 1 July 2020 you can now ask a lawyer to start acting for you. Additionally, lawyers can also now assist you by preparing and filing family court proceedings on your behalf in all circumstances.   

It is anticipated that through greater access to legal representation and support parents may be able to resolve disputes relating to their children sooner and by negotiated agreement. This, in turn, is expected to improve access to a judicial decision for those parties where resolution by agreement has not been possible. 

If you require assistance with Family Court proceedings or any other aspect of family law then please get in touch with a member of our family law team. 

Article by Rachel Haythornthwaite

Rachel joined Malley & Co in 2017 after graduating from the University of Canterbury with a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts.

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