Our Associate, Chris Bell, recently shared an article with the Horowhenua Chronicle on Kaiārahi and the Family Court
The Family Court is the forum where people can seek help with issues touching on all stages of life, often in times of distress, crisis and conflict. In New Zealand, more than 60,000 applications are lodged in the Family Court each year, encapsulating a range of issues and problems affecting whānau in New Zealand.
The role of your legal representative in the Family Court is to advocate for you. People often engage a lawyer for a variety of reasons including helping them navigate the complex legal system and to provide expert advice. In addition to legal representation, there are a number of other supports that can complement the support you receive, such as the newly established kaiārahi role.
The kaiārahi, or Family Court Navigator, is a newly established role which aims to improve justice outcomes for whānau engaging with the Family Court. The issues that bring whānau into contact with the Family Court are often interconnected and the kaiārahi is well-placed to connect you to the community services that can support you, such as counselling, parenting education services and other social services specific to the local area. Whilst the kaiārahi is not a substitute for quality legal advice, they can provide useful information about the Family Court system, processes and etiquette. This service is voluntary and acts as a bridge between community and the Ministry of Justice.
There are 50 kaiārahi nationwide, and the kaiārahi serving the Horowhenua area is Merv Ransom. You can contact your local Family Court Kaiārahi, Merv, or get further information about the support the kaiārahi can provide, in the following ways: