The Role of the State in Family Law


  • Hon. Peter Boshier,

  • Hon. Judith Kreeger,

  • Hon. George Czutrin,

  • Julia Spelman

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    • The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not purport to represent the views of the Family Court jurisdictions in which the authors work or the views of their central authorities.


Jurisdictions around the world have been grappling with the appropriate boundaries for the State's role in family law, particularly during this time of fiscal restraint. This article draws on some of the history and research from New Zealand, Canada and the United States to outline the fundamental elements of a just family law system. The authors suggest that wherever each State draws its boundaries, it should nevertheless provide for each of those elements.

Key points for family court community

  • The state has a vital role in protecting vulnerable people
  • The state has a vital role in providing vehicles for dispute resolution
  • The judge has a leadership role in structuring early intervention in high conflict cases