Family Jurisdiction

The Family Court is a division of the District Court.

The Family Court provides New Zealanders with help with family problems. The court deals with a wide range of "family' relationships, from children who have not yet been born through to older people who are in need of care and protection.

The Family Court hears cases concerning adoption, child abduction, separation, relationship property, wills, domestic violence, mental health, surrogacy and child support. Wherever possible, the court aims to help people resolve their own problems by way of counselling, conciliation and mediation.

Although the Family Court is essentially a private forum, in that it deals with very sensitive matters, the court is still a part of our justice system. Family Court decisions must be as open to the public as possible so that the court can be accountable.

No filming or recording of any hearing may be made by members of the public, the media, lawyers or litigants (parties) without the express permission of the presiding judge. Guidance explaining rules around taking notes and the prohibition on covert recordings of court hearings is found in:

For more information on in-court media coverage see:

For more information about the Family Court and their related processes, please visit the Ministry of Justice's family justice website.