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Open Letter to Family Law Section, New Zealand Law Society

© Peter Zohrab 2004

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To Mr. David Burns
Family Law Section
New Zealand Law Society

Dear Mr. Burns,

I am a Law student and a Men's Rights activist, and as such I am in an excellent position to evaluate the respective stances of yourself and of Fathers' Rights activists.

The Family Law section's stated goals are as follows: To --

In that context, it is nothing short of scandalous, to my mind, that the Family Law section has taken a solidly anti-father line on Family Law issues on every occasion where I have seen any publicity about it. It is clear, from that and from other facts, that the Family Law section considers "the interests of families and children" to be no more than a trojan horse for the interests of mothers -- which is what the Fathers Movement has been (correctly) claiming about lawyers and the Family Court all along.

There is no more powerless position for a man to be in than for him to be in a lawyer's office -- he is at the mercy of a person who (in my experience) is usually pursuing totally separate agendas, in addition to, or even conflicting with, the agenda that his/her male client wishes him/her to pursue. One such agenda occurs in the context of the lawyer being an Officer of the Court, which role the lawyer is of course free to interpret very liberally.

The power of the average lawyer is combined with huge ignorance about relevant matters which are not directly legal, but which impact severely on their male clients. The average Family Lawyer (if you are a typical example) is completely ignorant of any Fathers' Rights perspective on Family Law matters. Actually, the situation is much worse than that, because the typical lawyer carries around a vast amount of Feminist ideological baggage which is anti-male and either untrue or half-true. This baggage is inculcated in him/her at Law School, and reinforced by the Law Society.

I will give you just one -- but a very important -- example: Here is a quote from New Zealand Family Court Judge K G MacCormick (A v R [2003] NZFLR 1105, 1107):

"That more women seek (protection orders) is no doubt (my emphasis) because men are generally physically stronger and more inclined to try to resolve disputes by the use of physical force."

It is not just that the Judge was patently utterly wrong (see http://www.csulb.edu/~mfiebert/assault.htm ), and it is not just that such anti-male stereotypes and prejudices are grossly oppressive towards men and destructive of families. The main point is that the learned Judge did not feel the need to refer to anything remotely resembling evidence before making a statement like that, and (possibly) basing his judgement on it. Of course, the Police mainly arrest men -- not women -- for Domestic Violence, but that is obviously because men don't complain about female domestic violence, or get treated with contempt if they do.

My Law School may or may not be typical, but Feminist Legal Theory is taught as an optional subject, with no counterbalancing Masculist Legal Theory, and Feminist pressure-group propaganda from Women's Refuges and Rape Crisis (which is of incredibly poor intellectual quality, apart from being grossly biased) is fed to students in compulsory courses ! Students have a right to expect (however unrealistically) that their legal training at university will consist of truly academic and unbiased material, which will not distort their understanding of issues in order for lecturers to impose their own political agendas -- through their students - on Society at large !

The Law Society itself has a Women's Consultative Group, but no Men's Consultative Group, and I have been told that it would be unlikely that many male lawyers would want to join any Men's Consultative Group. That may seem to indicate that there is no need for one, but the very opposite is the case. With the ideological training in (aspects of) Feminism which most lawyers will have gone through, male lawyers cannot even begin to conceive of why they might need to have one !

Meanwhile, the lack of one biases the Law Society in an anti-male direction.

I turn now to your reported comments in the Dominion Post of Saturday April 10 2004. There, you say that the fact that it is mostly women who look after children, while a relationship exists, makes it appropriate that they should have custody, when the relationship ends. This is an example of an inability to look at issues from any other stance than a woman's best interests. Would you say that the fact the man is usually the one who is earning money during the relationship means that he should not have to contribute to his children's or his wife's assets or income when the relationship ends ? Of course not -- that wouldn't suit the mother, would it ? By your logic, the man should keep all of the assets and all of the income of the relationship, since the woman is keeping all of the children.

If you stopped looking at the issue from a woman's best interests perspective, you would see that:

I look forward to joining the Family Law Section of the Law Society and to debating these vital issues with you face-to-face.




Peter Douglas Zohrab

Latest Update

2 August 2015