Strengthening the family justice system

Closed 1 Mar 2019

Opened 23 Jan 2019


The Independent Panel has been tasked by the Minister of Justice to examine and report on the effectiveness of reforms made to the family justice system in 2014. The Panel has been asked specifically to look at the effectiveness of in-court and out-of-court processes, the appropriate role and use of professionals in the family justice system, and the extent to which decisions are being made that are consistent with the welfare and best interests of children.

After releasing a consultation paper in September 2018, the Panel travelled throughout New Zealand to speak with parents, whānau, communities and professionals. Based on what they heard, the Panel considers changes need to be made to the Family Court and related services. They have produced a consultation document which outlines their initial thoughts on a proposed direction for change. This consultation tool matches the contents of that paper, but allows you to answer the Panel’s questions as you go.

This consultation closed 1 March 2019.

Consultation documents

What happens to your submission

Your submission will only be used by the Independent Panel for the purpose of considering the 2014 family justice reforms. It won’t be shared with government agencies other than the Ministry of Justice (which is providing administrative support for the review).

Your submission will become official information. This means the Ministry may be required to release all or part of the information in your submission in response to a request under the Official Information Act 1982. The Ministry may, however, withhold all or parts of your submission if it’s necessary to protect your privacy or if it has been supplied subject to a duty of confidence. Please tell us if you don’t want all or specific parts of your submission released, and the reasons why.

Court information and information about third parties

Please don’t share documents about Family Court cases you’ve been involved in (such as affidavits) or any specific details about your case (such as case numbers). This will help protect the privacy of other people who were involved, such as your children and whānau. It will also make sure your submission does not breach the provisions of the Family Court Act 1980, which make it an offence to publish information about young or vulnerable people without the permission of the court.

Please don’t share names or any other information that could identify any other person, including children and whānau. This is out of respect for their privacy.


Here’s a link to the Ministry’s privacy policy:

Collecting personal information

The Ministry only collects personal information that you choose to give it while using the consultation website: for example, your email address. You can submit anonymously.

Sharing your information

The Ministry does not give information about you to anyone else, unless one of the following applies:

  • one of the reasons the Ministry got the information was to give it to someone else
  • you have allowed it
  • it is authorised or required by law or, in exceptional circumstances, for reasons permitted under the Privacy Act 1993, such as to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to somebody’s life or health
  • the information is to be used in a way that will not identify you, or it is to be used for statistical or research purposes and won’t be published in a way that will identify you.

Access to personal information the Ministry holds about you

You can ask the Ministry to give you any information that it holds about you, and you can make any changes to that information. Contact the Ministry’s Privacy Officer:

  • email:
  • phone: (04) 918 8800
  • post: Privacy Officer, Ministry of Justice, PO Box 180, Wellington.


  • General public


  • Family Court