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Submission to the Law Commission on Women's Access to Justice

by Peter Zohrab (1996), on behalf of the New Zealand Men's Rights Association

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0. Introduction

The Law Commission's study on Women's Access to Justice was carried out in parallel with large-scale Feminist indoctrination of judges in the 1997 "Judicial Seminar on Gender Equity at Rotorua." One of the presenters at that seminar was Law Commissioner Joanne Morris, who presented a paper entitled: "Women's experience of the justice system." This seminar was a precursor of the formation of an Institute of Judicial Studies, which institutionalised the continuing education of judges and included "Gender Equity" (i.e. Feminist propaganda) as one of its ongoing subjects for judicial indoctrination.


1. The Title of this Study

The title of this study by the Law Commission is highly sexist and discriminatory. It disenfranchises men. It disenfranchises men, because it denies men their natural right to information which presents their side of the story. A person does not have a meaningful franchise if they, and the public at large, are systematically denied information that presents their side of the story, and are consistently provided with official information which presents only the other side of the story....

The title "Women's Access to Justice", in the context of the status and mana of the Law Commission, is equivalent to an authoritative assertion to the effect that men have no significant problems with access to justice. That would be fine if the Law Commission had evidence to that effect -- but it has not, as I will show in the second section of my Submission.

I complained to the Human Rights Commission about this issue, but was informed that research does not fall within the categories over which they have jurisdiction. They advised my Association to carry out its own research. I assume that the Law Commission receives public funding, so I would urge it to commission me to carry out a study of Men's Access to Justice. Feminists get masses of funding from various sources to carry out Feminist research -- but Masculists get virtually none. So that advice from the Human Rights Commission -- if not actually sarcastic and hypocritical in intent -- was at least equivalent to Marie Antoinette asking beggars to go and eat cake if they had no bread.

Society, in terms of information, legislation, and regulation, is a huge Court. Society acquires an impression of the true state of affairs on any issue from the information that is available to it. Having formed an impression, Society (in the guise of pressure groups, parliamentarians, and government officials) proceeds to produce laws and regulations in accordance with that impression.

(Not only that, but the Judiciary themselves at times give the impression that they are prepared to enforce the notion that the Executive and Legislature are bound to follow current intellectual fashions -- even if these fashions are current only among a minority of the population. For example we have this quotation from "New Zealand Maori Council v A-G (Cooke P)" 1 NZLR, page 664:

"Yet it is equally clear that the Government ... cannot fail to give weight to the 'philosophies and urgings' currently and, it seems, increasingly prevailing."

This opinion from the bench was not supported by any pretence of statistics as to the prevalence of the relevant "philosophies and urgings" in the population at large. These "philosophies and urgings" pertain to a very small, but activist, minority of the population as a whole who have access to the media and are nurtured by taxpayer-subsidised institutional backers.

But this sort of activist minority, like Feminists, has almost exclusive access to the media on the relevant issues, and use the Ministries of Women's Affairs/Maori development and university Maori/Women's Studies to propagate their one-sided viewpoint. This viewpoint then gets taken up by the Establishment as being the currently fashionable one -- or even the only POSSIBLE one.

I am not putting Maori and Feminist issues on the same moral footing here -- just pointing out the parallel in terms of information manipulation. I consider some of the actual arguments put forward by some Maori activists to be much more justified than are the parallel arguments put forward by Feminists. This is because Maoris are an actual minority, rather than a pseudo-minority (as women are), and there is an actual treaty in place, in the case of Maori rights, whose implementation is at issue.

This process of totalitarian manipulation of information is mutually reinforcing. Western Society sees and hears the Feminist point of view constantly and ubiquitously. Feminism, in western Establishments, has the status of God's Truth for this reason. Universities commonly have Women's Studies Departments, but few have Men's Studies Departments. These Women's Studies Departments are the Feminist equivalents of theological seminaries, i.e. sources of one-sided Feminist propaganda, rather than being analogous to quasi-objective Philosophy Departments. Similarly, Governments have Ministries of Women's Affairs, but I doubt that a single government in the whole world has a Ministry of Men's Affairs.

The Law Commission obviously assumes some version of Feminism to be God's Truth. Only thus would it have the unmitigated gall and vicious misandrist bias to call for public submissions on *WOMEN'S* Access to Justice, as if men could not possibly have a problem with that (or with anything else, I assume).

I recall that the Feminist Department of Justice's report on Male-On-Female domestic violence "Hitting Home" (1995) was supposed to be followed up by studies on Female-On-Male and same-sex domestic violence, according to press reports. But when I wrote to the Minister of Justice about these planned studies, he replied:

"... there will be no decision on further research on this matter until the findings of 'Hitting Home" have been fully considered." (personal communication, 9 October 1995)

It is my considered opinion that there will be *no* such follow-up studies, until the Feminist Department of Justice ceases to be the Feminist Department of Justice and starts to be the People's Department of Justice. This is because the relevant people in the Feminist Department of Justice have the misandrist agenda of vilifying men, and therefore to carry out studies of violence where men are not the only villains, and where women are not the only victims, would be a distraction of the gullible public's attention from this primary agenda, in their view.

2. The Background to the Law Commission's Study

The evidence which has led the Law Commission to call for public submissions on "Women's Access to Justice" is itself biased against men. This misandrist evidence has led to the appointment of an obvious Feminist, Michelle Vaughan, to manage the project, which is bound (in my view) to involve a dedicated effort to ignore submissions such as mine, in favour of the preferred submissions which present the Feminist God's Truth point of view.

Upon my requesting it, Michelle Vaughan on 8 September 1995 provided me with a 21-item list of relevant overseas publications. Of these, 19 indicate from their titles that they result from Task Forces, Committees, Studies, or Commissions on gender bias in the Courts. Not all of these included dates of publication, but the earliest date of publication listed was 1989. Of the 21 items, 14 were from the USA -- the rest being from Australia and Canada. The forerunner of all these reports, dated 1986, was *not* on the list that Ms. Vaughan supplied to me. I consider that to have been a deliberate omission. In the Men's Rights struggle, we almost invariably come across pseudo-mistakes of this kind on the part of establishment Feminists when we have dealings with them.

This forerunner was "The First Year Report of the New Jersey Supreme Court Task Force on Women in the Courts -- June 1984" -- published in 1986 in the Women's Rights Law Reporter, Volume 9, Number 2. This deeply flawed study was an inspiration to most, if not all of the 14 US studies that appeared on Ms Vaughan's list. Key Feminists involved in the New Jersey Task Force went on to act as advisers to the later Task Forces in other states of the USA. It is possible to find such studies harking back to the New Jersey study as having allegedly established the presence of anti-Female bias in US Courts.

(One line deleted because it refers to an Appendix that I do not reproduce here.)

But the New Jersey study was deeply flawed at all levels -- starting with its name, which refers solely to "women". Paradoxically, the introduction to the published report refers, not to "bias against women", but to "gender bias" (op.cit., 129). If we had just landed on Earth for the first time, as visitors from Mars or somewhere, then we would doubtless have assumed that anyone investigating "gender bias" would have to look at bias against both men and women -- so why did the title refer only to "women", we would wonder.

But we don't come from Mars, of course. We know that "gender bias" is a politically correct code-term for "bias against women". Nevertheless, the Task Force did use the phrases "treatment of men and women" and "equality for women and men" in its initial phrasing of the issues that it would focus on (op. cit., 135).

So I have to ask myself how lawyers and judges, who one would normally expect to be clear-thinking, managed to convince themselves that a Task Force on "Women" had a brief to examine both men and women. The answer is quite clear. The answer is that this study arose out of the culture of one-sided Feminist polemic, with its rhetoric of "oppression", "patriarchy", and so on. This culture takes it for granted that men run Society for their own benefit, and that Feminists, and only Feminists have the motivation to institute "gender equality" in any aspect or part of Society.

This model is false. Instead of arguing against it here, however, I append my article "The Frontman Fallacy" (originally included as Appendix I).

This Feminist culture is the explanation for the paradox that the Task Force, which had twice as many women as men in it, saw nothing wrong in preferring to accept the views of women over those of men, when their views differed on the issue of gender bias:

"The perceptions and experiences reported by female attorneys ... differed markedly from those of male attorneys in most categories of questions.... Because gender bias impacts most directly on women, it should not be surprising that female attorneys are more aware of it than are males" (op. cit., 136).

This is an extraordinary viewpoint, for two reasons:

a. It assumes, without a shred of proof, that gender bias affects women more than men (even though the Task Force itself discovered bias against men in the Courts which it never claimed explicitly to be less important than the bias against women that it also uncovered).

b. If the gender of the obervers affects their judgement as to the prevalence of gender bias, then the unequal numbers of men and women in the Task Force itself must surely, by the Task Force's own logic, condemn the Task Force's findings as inevitably biased against men.

As indeed they are !

The topic of gender bias in the courts is obviously a very broad one. Courts involve people with a large number of different roles: judge, jury, prosecutor, defense lawyer, police, defendant, witness, spectator, and so on. So gender bias, if it exists, will manifest itself in many different ways, and with different degrees of seriousness in each case.

It seems to me obvious that the defendant is most at risk in a Court. He (and it is usally "he") stands to lose money, liberty, or even his life as a result of the proceedings -- yet the New Jersey study relegated the issue of gender bias against defendants in criminal cases to sections of a mere 7 pages in the 49-page report. Though evidence was found of gender bias in sentencing, it was only against men -- and so the female-dominated Task Force decided that further study was needed before any action needed to be taken.

Contrast this with the Task Force's attitude to the treatment of women lawyers by male judges and lawyers! You will recall that I claimed that "gender bias", in western societies, is just a politically correct code-term for "bias against women". Here is the proof: this is the quotation from the man (New Jersey Chief Justice Wilentz) who set up the New Jersey Task Force, which appears as the Preface to the Report:

"There's no room for gender bias in our system .... There's no room for the funny joke and the not-so-funny joke, there's no room for conscious, inadvertent, sophisticated, clumsy, or any other kind of gender bias, and certainly no room for gender bias that affects substantive rights.

There's no room because it hurts and it insults. It hurts female (my emphasis) lawyers psychologically and economically, litigants psychologically and economically, and witnesses, jurors, law clerks and judges who are women. It will not be tolerated in any form whatsoever."

Chief Justice Wilentz made these remarks in the course of the Task Force's operations, so it is not as if he was setting down guidelines for its work. But his remarks deserve their prominent place in the Report, because they highlight the issue that the Task Force did in fact concentrate a lot of its energies upon. And yet the Report itself indicates that most attorneys surveyed by the Task Force thought that this kind of bias did not even affect case outcomes!

"The Task Force asked whether attorneys thought that appropriate forms of address, comments on appearance and sexist remarks affect case outcome. Sixteen percent (16%) of women and three percent (3%) of men thought that they did" (op. cit., 141).

I am not in favour of condoning such behaviour, but I make two points here:

a. These issues are trivial compared to the penalties suffered by mainly male defendants, and a high proportion of these penalties are the result of Feminist-inspired anti-male bias all the way down the chain from funding for research, to funding for pressure-groups, to framing of legislation, to enforcement of legislation, to rules of evidence, to conviction-rates, to sentencing practices -- all the way down to prison conditions and rehabilitation, and beyond.

b. The Task Force (op. cit., 137) cited statistics which showed that bias in favour of women was just as prevalent in courtrooms as bias against women. Even the Task Force's assumption that women were more aware of bias against women than men were does not excuse it for virtually ignoring this point:

"Seventy-one percent (71%) of female respondents but only thirty percent (30%) of male respondents reported having observed incidents where it appeared that judges treated women litigants or witnesses disadvantageously because they were women.... Are women litigants and witnesses ever treated advantageously because they are women ? Sixty-eight percent (68%) of female attorneys and sixty-five percent (65%) of male attorneys observed such incidents on the part of judges" (op.cit., 137-8).

Adding the male and female responses together, it is clear that many more attorneys had experienced bias in favour of (133%), than against (101%) female litigants or witnesses. Even if you assume that female respondents were more reliable on this issue than male respondents (which assumption is itself an example of gender bias on the part of the Task Force), you will see that there is only a three percent difference between the 71% of female respondents who who had observed bias against female litigants or witnesses, and the 68% of female respondents who had observed bias in favour of female litigants or witnesses.

Yet the Report mentioned only ways that bias against women could be diminished -- no mention was made of any possible measures to diminish bias in favour of women (i.e. against men).

There are many other criticisms I could (and will, if required) make of the New Jersey Report -- and I am sure I could make similar ones of the others on Michelle Vaughan's list. I have not had time to read most of them. But I believe that my remarks above are sufficient to show that there are serious doubts as to the validity of the conclusions that such reports have drawn in the past in other countries.

I am concerned to stop the Law Commission's Feminist steamroller from proceeding on the basis of the "obvious" bias against women "revealed" by so many (in fact very deeply flawed) overseas studies, towards its obvious goal of mimicking their findings in the New Zealand context.


3. The Substantive issue: Women's Access to the Law

Women have far too much access to the Law !

One example is the Law Commission's present show trial of men by women, this kangaroo court, intent on peddling lies and half-truths, which is what the present study on "Women's Access to Justice" amounts to.

In the last couple of centuries since Feminism first arose, and even before the enactment of female adult suffrage in New Zealand last century, Feminist pressure groups have been consistently getting progressively more pro-women and anti-male legislation passed by parliament. At the same time, they have been conning the public by pointing to the straw man of the largely male nature of the actual parliamentarians who took these anti-male, pro-women decisions.

Most defendants in Court are male, and mostly they are in Court as a result of Feminist-inspired anti-male bias all the way down the chain from funding for research, to funding for pressure-groups, to framing of legislation, to enforcement of legislation, to rules of evidence, to conviction-rates, to sentencing practices -- all the way down to prison conditions and rehabilitation, and beyond.

Women have far too much access to justice....




Peter Douglas Zohrab

Latest Update

27 July 2015