New Zealand Independent Newspapers

Further move on court bias claim

New Zealand Independent Newspapers
14 NOVEMBER 2001

A coalition of groups complaining about the Family Court will ask the Human Rights Commission to investigate claims of gender bias in the court's decisions.

Veteran Wellington men's rights campaigner Craig Jackson said yesterday the complaint was the latest move in a series aimed at challenging the work of the court.

He said people wanting equal rights for parents of both sexes, particularly in child custody and access disputes, were disadvantaged in the way the court interpreted the law, rather than the law itself. "It's between the ears of the judges that the real problem lies."

Mr Jackson said nine groups from around the country had renewed the call for a commission of inquiry into the court.

He said the groups had small membership but represented a widely held view about bias in the Family Court.

A small weekly protest outside Wellington courts had begun, and in Tauranga a silent protest had been staged in the court foyer.

Mr Jackson said "horror stories" from the Family Court were being circulated to politicians, lawyers and interested groups.

Principal Family Court judge Patrick Mahony has denied claims of gender bias in court decisions and says a commission of inquiry isn't needed.