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Family Law

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08 SEP 2011

Common law judges and judicial interviewing [2011] CFLQ 41


The practice of judicial interviewing of children in private law parenting disputes is well accepted in many civil law countries with an inquisitorial process of adjudication, but has proved highly controversial in a number of common law jurisdictions. Judicial interviewing, however, has a respectable pedigree in common law, and an inquisitorial flavour permeates family proceedings involving children. There are both risks and benefits attached to judicial interviewing, and the ultimate question is whether the benefits outweigh any risks. Two surveys of the New Zealand Family Court judges conducted in 2006 and 2009, spanning a period in which judicial interviewing became more routine, reveal that the judges in this common law jurisdiction have become more positive about the practice and less anxious about the risks.

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