Paternity law in New Zealand can be difficult to navigate and some loopholes are having serious consequences for mothers, fathers and children. This article highlights one such loophole in regards to DNA testing and suggests that a law change is needed.
The NZ Law Commission has estimated that up to 1.8% of the population (or 80,000 people) have the incorrect father on their birth certificate. This article explores the complex issue of misattributed paternity from the child's point of view.
This article summarises research I undertook on whether New Zealand should adopt an integrated court system where a judge is assigned to each family and manages their court proceedings from start to finish.
This article discusses the 10 year anniversary of one of the most high profile American cases on men's reproductive rights to date - Dubay v Wells. The plaintiff Matt Dubay argued that men should have the equivalent right to woman's right to an abortion, otherwise known as a financial abortion.
This article explores the complex issue of whether medically assisted dying should be allowed in New Zealand. It provides an overview of the submissions provided the Health Select Committee, which is currently undertaking a review of this issue, as well as comments from individual submitters. It then discusses the various legal issues that would need to be considered should the Government pass legislation permitting medically assisted dying.
This article explores the complex question of what should happen to a couple's embryos when they separate mid way through IVF treatment and the female or male ex-partner wishes to proceed with treatment in order to conceive a child. It is based on a chapter of my LLM dissertation.
This article provides an overview of the study I undertook at Victoria University which explores whether integrated domestic violence courts that use a ‘One Judge, One Family’ case management system should be implemented in New Zealand.
Replacing Sex With Science June 2015 Next This article marks the 10 year anniversary of the Assisted Reproductive Technology Act by providing an overview of the Act as well as discussion of a number of matters which have arisen since the Act was introduced. These include donor and surrogate shortages and New Zealanders opting for fertility treatment overseas to avoid local restrictions.
This article explores the reasons why women might choose to freeze their eggs and what the procedure involves from a medical perspective. It also highlights relevant legal issues in regards to storage timeframes, the responsibilities of fertility clinics when storing eggs, and the rare instances where a woman’s eggs are accidentally implanted into a different woman.
This article explores the question of whether men should have increased reproductive choice and the ability to choose whether to become a legal father (or not) in two complex situations. First, where the child is unplanned and second, where the mother of the child has tricked the father in order to become pregnant. This article is based on my LLM dissertation.
The use of assisted reproductive technology to conceive children can raise complex legal issues. This article explores the scenario where a couple store embryos while in a relationship, but subsequently separate and disagree over whether the embryos should be used to conceive a child. The fundamental issue that is explored is how to reconcile the right to become a parent and the right to not be forced into parenthood without consent. This article is based on my LLM dissertation.
Non-consensual, Deceitful and Misattributed Paternity April 2013 Faculty of Law, Victoria University of Wellington This dissertation explores three types of paternity: non-consensual, deceitful and misattributed paternity. It is argued that these types of paternity are a modern reality that result in serious practical and legal consequences for all parties involved, but particularly for the father and child. They do not sit comfortably within the current legal framework on paternity which is too rigid, unclear or outdated to resolve issues that arise, and perhaps result in inequitable outcomes. In the light of this, several recommendations are provided to resolve these issues, most taking the form of statutory amendments.
Dissertation subject areas: paternity, legal parenthood, child support, human assisted reproductive technology, sexual offending, the torts of deceit and negligent misstatement.
Compulsory Donation of Blood, Bone Marrow and Tissue by Saviour Siblings December 2010 New Zealand Family Law Journal (subscription required to access)
Using assisted reproductive technology to conceive a child who is a genetic match to an ill sibling, and can therefore act as a donor, was the subject of the best-selling novel My Sister’s Keeper. While the book and subsequent movie adaptation focusses on the social and ethical issues, this article analyses the legal issues and considers the question: is it in the donor child’s welfare and best interests to act as a donor for their sibling? Other types of donation are also discussed, for example child to parent donation.
One Court / One Judge An Integrated Court System for New Zealand Families Affected by Violence
The issue: Family violence is prevalent in New Zealand and we have one of the highest rates in the OECD. Families affected by violence are often involved in multiple court proceedings over the space of several months or years and have to appear before multiple judges in multiple courts. These courts include the District Court for criminal proceedings and the Family Court for civil proceedings. Some families may also have younger family members involved in criminal proceedings in the Youth Court.
The project: I explored whether it would be better for families if all their inter-related court proceedings were heard in one court before one judge. This already happens in New York so I flew over there to interview judges, lawyers and court staff to learn how their integrated family violence court system works. I also observed proceedings at various court locations throughout New York and visited a pilot integrated court in Toronto, Canada.
Back in New Zealand I wrote a discussion paper which compared New Zealand's current court system with the integrated court system in New York and Toronto. I concluded that we should introduce an integrated court system in New Zealand because it provides a much better court process for families affected by violence and may also help break the cycle of intergenerational violence. I then developed an integrated family violence court operating model which has several enhancements and is customised to the New Zealand context.
The discussion paper was published and I was keen to get feedback so I invited government and non-government agencies with an interest in our current court system to make submissions. All submissions were then provided to the Ministry of Justice which will ultimately decide whether this type of court system should be introduced in New Zealand.
Funding for this research was generously provided by the New Zealand Law Foundation under a partnership agreement with the Ministry of Justice. Generous logistical support for the research was also provided by the Victoria University Faculty of Law.