ACT wants family and youth courts opened up

The Herald reports:

Party leader Dr Jamie Whyte said the party wants to see Youth Court and open to public scrutiny.

Dr Whyte said in a policy announcement today that there should be a right to access Youth Court and Family Court records.

Media should be able to report on cases through the Youth Court and Family Court in a similar way they can report on District Court proceedings, he said.

“The Act Party is campaigning to end secret courts” Dr Whyte said.

“There is no way of analysing and understanding what is going on in the family court.

“There are disturbing stories that evidence in Family Court cases is unreliable.”

Dr Whyte said the “secrecy” of the Youth Court was the biggest problem in the youth justice system.

“It is a wholly unjustified violation of the principle of open justice.”

The party supported names and identifying details of parties remaining suppressed, Dr Whyte said.

As I understand it the default mode for these courts is not to be public, but media can apply for access. ACT seem to be saying they would reverse the default setting so that access is the norm.

So long as names are suppressed, I favour all courts having a default setting of being open to the media.

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