Claudia Elliott has been in the practice for 30 years now, including Youth Court and employment areas of law in both Rotorua in partnership and sole practice in Auckland for the last 11 years. She is a part of the United Nations Development Programme, which is responsible for setting up Family Violence Courts in Afghanistan. She has also been a decision maker on the Film and Literature Board, the Mental Health Review Tribunal, and the Retirement Villages Disputes Panel, reading evidence and submissions and making and writing decisions.
She joined Sintija Dobrotinsek of Legalwise Seminars to discuss the challenges, trends and developments in the area of Family Law.
You can hear directly from Claudia at the upcoming Family Law Conference in Auckland on Tuesday 13 September 2016.
You can find the transcript of the Q&A below.
What are some of the challenges facing the family lawyers today?
- There is limited access to justice for a number of people through legal aid, or not qualifying for legal aid.
- Access to justice is also impacted by the overburdened Family Court system where long delays occur for hearings.
- Both these challenges impact on how affirmations quickly become out of date, and need to be drafted in a way that takes account of delays in the system.
What is a key consideration to keep in mind when drafting affirmations?
A key consideration to keep in mind is what the law says the Judge must consider in an application.
What are some of the trends and developments you see ahead in the Family Law area?
- I would like to think that someone will eventually recognise the access to justice issue in the restrictions that have been put on the legal aid system, and the Family Court system.
- At present, the trend tends to be a tick box system, rather than tailor made for the parties.
- The more restrictions on legal aid, and the Court’s system, the worse it will be for children.
- The trends and developments are politically motivated and purely aimed at cost cutting, without thought for the needs of participants and their children.
You can hear directly from Claudia at the upcoming Family Law Conference in Auckland on Tuesday, 13 September 2016.