Chief Executive of Oranga Tamariki v Lien [2019] NZFC 6269

Published 21 September 2020

Party costs and contributions — lawyer for child — Care of Children Act 2004, ss 31 & 162(4) — Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 — Police v TGW (1998) 16 FRNZ 570; [1998] NZFLR 296. This judgment addressed the issue of contribution to the costs of lawyer for the child throughout the lengthy proceedings that related to the care and protection and placement of a young child. As noted in the substantive judgment, Oranga Tamariki had made poor social work decisions and acted in a manner that caused significant costs and delays, but more importantly put the child at risk of physical and psychological harm. Under s 162(4) of the Care of Children Act the Court has a discretion to require a party to reimburse the Crown for a specified amount of the lawyer for the child's fees and disbursements. The Judge decided to exercise this discretion and required that Oranga Tamariki reimburse the Crown $19,000 due to their failure to carry out their duties reasonably. This amount was half of the actual costs incurred in the lawyer for child representing the child. Judgment Date: 22 September 2019. * * * Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements. * * *