Strengthening the family justice system

Closed 1 Mar 2019

Opened 23 Jan 2019


In 2014, major changes were made to the family justice system. The reforms aimed to help people resolve parenting disputes without having to go to court. However, we now know that these changes aren't working for some people.

An Independent Panel appointed by the Minister of Justice examined the changes and considered how they've impacted separating families and their children.

The Panel conducted two rounds of public consultation. It received about 650 submissions.

The panel’s final report, released in June 2019, outlines their findings and recommendations.

The next steps are for officials to look at what changes need to be made and provide advice to the Minister by the end of the year.

Visit the Ministry of Justice's website to find out more about the panel's findings and work.

Family Court rewrite

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