Andrew Little rejects UN women's committee call for Royal Commission into New Zealand Family Court

Justice Minister Andrew Little has rejected a call by the United Nations committee on women's rights for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Family Court, saying the Government already has a fair idea of what the problems are.

The UN committee on women's rights today backed a call for New Zealand to adopt a cross-party and long-term strategy to combat gender-based violence against women.

The call was made by the Human Rights Commission and NGOs to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women in Geneva earlier this month. 

Mr Little has already ordered a Ministerial Review of the Family Court. 

The UN committees have called on the Government to upgrade that review to a Royal Commission, with an independent mandate to evaluate what they say are drawbacks and obstruction of justice and safety for women inherent in the Family Court system. 

Mr Little says he doesn't think the Government needs to consider a Royal Commission.

"We have a fair idea what the problem points are," he told 1 NEWS. 

"What is important, I think, is that we have a group that can go and talk to the stakeholders, talk to the organisations like Backbone Collective as well as Fathers for Justice, talk to mums and dads who've been through the Family Court recently. 

"But actually also talk to children because I have real doubts about whether we are fulfilling all our obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child," he said.

Deborah Mckenzie, co-founder of watchdog group The Backbone Collective told TVNZ1's Sunday programme last weekend that many women are being verbally abused in the Family Court.

"The stories we were hearing were like reading a Dickens novel. These woman were being verbally abused by judges, lawyers and psychologists. Alarmingly, most of the women said their experiences of violence and abuse weren't being believed," Ms Mckenzie said.

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women has also asked the Government to consider renewing its invitation to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women.

Mr Little's response today was that if the UN decides to send out a rapporteur "we have an obligation to facilitate that, and if that happens then we will do that". 

The Justice Minister has already ordered a review of the court and says a Royal Commission isn't needed. Source: 1 NEWS