Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Family Court- secret family violence best practice principles

A month ago I posted about how the Family Court had stated that it had issued best practice principles about family violence.

No doubt good stuff- but where were these principles? Nowhere to be seen.

I then wrote to the court's media officer. Here is the substantive response, which I have just received:

I apologise for raising expectations via the media release on the
FVBPP - the purpose was to tell parties and practitioners that, in addition to
the programs and processes they might utilise when violence is alleged,there was
activity 'behind the scenes' as well to address violence.
The release clearly begged the question because I have had numerous
requests for copies of the FVBPP or questions why they can't be found on
the website.However, the FVBPP are for the guidance of the judges and as present
they are not available to a wider audience.

The courts pride themselves on transparency. When judges make decisions in which their reasons are not completely transparent, they are rightly criticised on appeal.

For the sake of transparency, the court ought to release the principles for public scrutiny. If US courts can do so, there ought to be no reason that the Family Court cannot do so. When the Family Court published its family violence policy, it did so in the public eye, after much public consultation.

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