`The effects of ex-parte applications and unlawful “No right of appeal”

`The effects of ex-parte applications and unlawful “No right of appeal”

Secrecy and ” No right of Appeal to Interim Orders” are what the Family Court rely on to hide that this Court is broken. Secrecy and ” No appeal” are also the impenetrable veils that prevent the cruelty and barbaric conduct from being exposed. Justice is meant to be blind, but not to turn a blind eye to injustice.

Two senior QC’s have written a self-serving “infomercial” defending the Family Court as “not broken”- “cases that end up in a court fall into one of three categories. They say that cases are either factually complicated, legally complex or involve parties who are intractable.” and that ” Inevitably, there will be complaints because one of the two parties will lose.” There are delays….

The reality is that very few cases before the Family Courts are factually complicated or complex, or that there has to be “losers”. Many of the lawyers and judges are experts in magnifying conflict. This is a legal “skill” which is effected by myopically examining irrelevant details of a case, and then ballooning these minor issues into major ones. 

These magnified and irrelevant ‘distractions’ are then used as excuses to separate children from one parent, which then creates further conflict, without any regard for the effect of the separation from that parent on the child/ren. Further conflict then means further disputes and more court cases. And the path is laid out. 

The “respondent” parent subject to this legal deception is left dazed and confused how this happened to them. “Gaslighting” is the most extensively used psychological tool in the Family Court. Years of court hearings and conflict are the result.

Section 4 of the Care of Children Act states the Childs best interests and welfare to be paramount. In the absence of any allegation of harm, how can separating a child from one of its parents, for weeks, months or even years, in the child’s best interests? Yet this happens every single day in New Zealand Courts. And like the Catholic altar boys, no one wants to talk about it. Everyone turns a blind eye.

The lawyers that are charging eye-watering amounts (QC’s $800 + per hour) for their self-serving complicating of cases are the only winners. $100,000 to $300,000 in legal fees is common. This to determine how much time Johnny and Annie can spend with mum and dad.

How can a system that allows one party to be represented by a QC, and a member of the “Inner Bar” be matched up against a lay litigant, be referred to as a “Justice System” ? A boxing match that pits Mike Tyson against a 13 year old school boy would be decried as a gross mismatch and that could only result in a cruel, unjust, and unfair slaughter. Yet the future of children’s lives are subject such gross unfairness every day in the Courts of NZ.

Today the Government is apologising for the Dawns Raids, and to the children who were genitally tortured by the State at Lake Alice 50 years ago. Those victims protested against the abuse for 50 years, but they were ignored. The NZ Govt is notorious for refusing to admit fault for wrong doing. Especially so, when the misconduct by those in power is, ‘a step too far’. It might seem counter-intuitive but the State (including the judiciary) will do all things necessary to hide gross misconduct rather than allow it to see any ‘daylight’, for fear of society losing confidence in it. It expects itself to be infallible. In 50 years the Crown will be apologising to the victims of the Family Court, however, rather than apologies then, we need change now. 

Today, there are thousands of victims being subjected to unlawful, systemic abuse by the Family Court, and they are hog tied, they have no RIGHT of APPEAL to any interim orders, even if they could afford it.

What’s worse, is that 87% of these interim orders made by the Family Court are made ex-parte, (made behind one’s back without any right of reply) and are often based on lies or gross inaccuracies. Yet the “accused” or the “respondent” will have no right of reply for months before they can set the record straight. 

The Law and High Court authority says the Family Court can’t do this, yet it does so every single day with impunity, and no fear of reprisal or critique. In the meantime, you don’t see your children, or you might get an hour of supervised contact every week or two, in a few months’ time. Its barbaric.

The greatest failing of the Family Court today is unquestionably the FAILURE to establish the nature of the relationship and bond between the parent who is having orders made against them in an ex-parte application, and their child/ren. In law this is referred to as the ‘Status Quo’. 

How can any Court state with a clear conscience that it is acting in the best interests and welfare of a child without having any information before it detailing the nature of the relationship between the child/ren and that parent. This lack of duty of care is exacerbated by the fact that these judges know that with one stroke of their pen those children will not see that parent for weeks, or months, due to the extraordinary delays in the system.

The law is very clear – FULL DISCLOSURE OF ALL RELEVANT INFORMATION IS REQUIRED for any ex-parte application. It is rarely, if ever provided, and the judges turn a blind eye to this. It is nothing short of criminal, and results in major suffering and distress for children and parents alike. 

The Status Quo is the datum that interim parenting orders should be based on, and without knowing what that was, the inevitable outcome is a “train wreck”, – a very broken family, as a result of a very broken court. This blatant disregard for such crucial disclosure needs to be enforced rigorously,- and be done yesterday.

Unsurprisingly, the breach of natural justice resultant from ex-parte hearings does not stop there. NZ Family Court law does not allow one to appeal those interim decisions, without the consent of the judge that made those orders in the first instance. Unremarkably, permission is rarely granted by the judge who made the unlawful decision. Why would any judge want to risk being exposed for wrong doing? 

How does a judge review his own decisions, if he is blind enough to the error in the first place. What makes this worse is these interim orders are frequently based on lies, wrong findings or erroneous facts and mostly result into months or years of children, and respondent parents, being subject to inhumane orders requiring separation or very limited care time with each other. The result- third world justice, at best.

The legal maze is so complex that even the most experienced judges and lawyers do not know what the law actually says or requires. Yet, the families of New Zealand are expected to understand the law they will be subject to. Supreme Court Justice Susan Glazebrook wrote most eloquently –

“Legislation binds all people and entities in New Zealand and everyone is assumed to know the law (albeit in somewhat of a legal fiction).6 As such legislation must be accessible to those it binds. Statutes must also be understandable and drafted with sufficient precision to allow people to order their affairs according to law and, importantly, to allow those who administer legislation to do so according to law.

The constitutional importance of individuals being able to understand the law, and order their affairs accordingly, is a key tenet of any legitimate legal system.”

And the consequences of getting a judge who does not know the law, or simply does not like you, will result in you being separated from you own child/ren for months or years, without any reason being given. And to rub cyanide into the wound, you have no right of appeal. Should you have a judge that has decided they are going to case manage your file, you are then chained to that judge for two, three or more years. 

And once a judge has formed an opinion, irrespective of the evidence he or she has before them, it is almost impossible to have the decision reversed, which means you will be subject to further systemic abuse by that same judge. The ‘errors’ compound. And the conflict only gets worse if you then point out those errors to the Judge.

 The resultant punishment and bullying from the bench for doing so will manifest in new orders further depriving your already paltry time with your child. It is a vortex of torture from which there is no escape. There is no right of appeal. You are chained in a dungeon, without any light, and no tunnel. It is your worst nightmare and the effects are devastating.

Once the Family Court lawyers and judges have myopically sliced and diced your life, and you have failed the Family Court, ‘perfect parenting test’ ( as 98% of NZ family’s would) the Court’s will find a reason, whether lawful or not, to separate one parent from the child/ren. 

Instead of doing all things possible to keep child/ren having as much contact with both parents, as best possible as was before separation, they do all things possible to separate them. And we are world leaders in teenage suicide.

One you have been subject to the Family Court you reach a deep understanding that care of children matters have no place being dealt with by lawyers and judges, who have never even met your children. It is the realm of councillors who have humanitarian minds, not legal ones making life altering decisions based on carefully crafted affidavits and deceptive wordings.

There are some exceptional Family Court Judges and then there are some that have no right to sit at the bench. They are cruel, autocratic and dishonest. They are causing irreparable damage, and that not only results in significant psychological damage to children and parents, it costs tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to be subject to it. More money for jam, for the lawyers, no matter which way the axe drops.

The reality is that the Judicial system is TOO independent, it answers to no one, and NZ Judges are subject to no one. There is no accountability. There are over 30,000 Decisions, Minutes and Memoranda issued by the Family Court every year, and of those, 80 decisions are appealed (final orders are permitted to be appealed). Of those appeals, (which will set you back another $12,000 to $25,000) 20 are granted. Out of 30,000 decisions? Are the other 29,980 decisions or orders sound and safe? Or is it that there no reasonable access to appeal the lawless and erroneous judges of the NZ Family Court. We are world leaders in our denial of judicial process. We are a lawless nation. And like Lake Alice, or the Catholic choir boys, no one really cares about the abuse suffered by others. We are also a selfish nation. It’s not in my back yard.

The reliance on ex-parte application, Status Quo not being enforced, lack of oversight or no right of appeal has resulted in misconduct and abuse so damaging that no one is able to talk about it. If you find yourself dragged into the Family Court – may God help you, because he is your ONLY hope. Superior Court Judges will not expose gross misconduct of the Family Court, because the system cannot admit, or be seen to be BROKEN.

Anyone who suggests the Family Court is not broken is being as dishonest as that system itself. It is a national disgrace.

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