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Law Commission turning to our expert authors for family law advice (new Westlaw (New Zealand))

Author updates

Our Family Law authors are either academics or practitioners. They plug away for every update, producing high quality commentary on the law in their fields of expertise. As editor, it is sometimes easy to get embroiled in the updates and the deadlines and overlook the calibre of this author team.

On 29 July 2021, the Law Commission released its Issues Paper on Surrogacy (Law Commission Te Kōpū Whāngai: He Arotake - Review of Surrogacy (NZLC IP47, 2021)). This is significant work with a high level of complexity, identifying the problems with the current law (no separate specific Act currently existing). A familiar theme, with family law, trying to catch the law up with the passing years (thinking of Adoption, Trusts, Succession). Reading the Acknowledgements, you will see our very own Associate Professor Debra Wilson as one of the four people on the Expert Advisory Group (and with her many articles liberally cited throughout the report). Dr Wilson writes for Adult Relationships (Protection of Children from Family Violence), Child Law III (Surrogacy and HARTA) and Procedure (Family Court Rules and Evidence). The working committee is to include Zandra Wackenier, our author on Adoption for Child Law III. (By-the-way, note that submissions on this Issues Paper must be received by 23 September 2021 for those who would like to have their say.)

And also, recently, the Ministry of Justice has just released a document, Adoption in Aotearoa New Zealand: Discussion document (Ministry of Justice, June 2021), with submissions to be received by 5pm Tuesday, 31 August 2021. Zandra Wackenier, our author on Adoption for Child Law III, has been asked to advise the Law Commission working group on this document and to assist in the drafting of their submission in respect of the surrogacy and adoption process.

And this reminds us of the equally thorny review of Succession Law (Review of Succession Law: Rights to a person’s property on death | He arotake i te āheinga ki ngā rawa a te tangata ka mate ana (NZLC IP46, 2021)). Submissions have now closed for this Issues Paper (June 2021) and it is hoped to have recommendations for the Minister by the end of this year. Professor Emeritus Nicola Peart is on the expert advisory panel for this review (and in fact she was also on the expert advisory panel for the Review of Trusts. We all know what a lot of work was needed for that). Professor Peart writes and is the General Editor for Family Property and also writes for Family Procedure (pt 11 of the Family Proceedings Act 1980).

Completely by accident we heard Sharon Chandra, at the beginning of the month, talking on Newstalk ZB about the Family Proceedings (Dissolution for Family Violence) Amendment Bill. Sharon writes for Adult Relationships, Child Law I and Family Property.

We’ve asked the Family Law authors to let us know when they are on these panels and working committees, when they speak and write for the media and publish their articles and books so that we can let you know and be as proud as we are of the team that supports us in this hard and vital area of law. Family law, protecting as it does the most vulnerable people in the country, is not for some; it is for all of us.

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