Guardianship Under CoCA

 Getting to the evidential crux of disputes

Guardianship matters under the Care of Children Act (CoCA) often involve single-issue disputes, such as medical decisions and schooling. In theory, this should mean they are straightforward to raise and present. Yet in practice, the evidence is often missing or misses the mark. What do judges need to make an appropriate decision?

This seminar, with bench and bar perspectives, aims to provide direction and insights into what evidence is essential, and what is useful, for determining guardianship disputes.

Who should attend?

Family lawyers at junior to intermediate level. 

  • Refresh your knowledge of what guardianship is, how someone becomes a guardian and how a guardianship issue comes before the Family Court.
  • Gain a better understanding of s 31 of the Care of Children Act 2004 and what it means for a child to be placed in the guardianship of the Court.
  • Delve into guardianship responsibilities and disputes, namely medical issues (including vaccinations); schooling; religious upbringing; and name/gender change, and gain insights into what evidence a Judge needs to make a decision on the matter in issue.


Her Honour Judge Pidwell
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Her Honour Judge Pidwell practised in litigation following admission to the Bar in 1992, with a strong focus on criminal and family law. In 2004 she joined the independent Bar concentrating on family law, where she regularly acted as lawyer for the child and counsel to assist the Court as well as taking private referrals.

From 2009 to 2011, her Honour she was a prosecuting trial attorney for the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague. She then acted as a consultant to a Tauranga law firm practising solely in family law. She also taught advocacy at Waikato University, and the Institute of Professional Legal Studies.

Her Honour was sworn in on 25 July 2014 in Tauranga, and was resident judge in Waitakere until 2022. She now sits at the Auckland District Court, and presides in both the family and criminal jurisdictions.

Cushla Webster
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Cushla Webster is an experienced practitioner in all aspects of family law. She specialises in Relationship Property; Care of Children; Domestic Violence and PPPR matters.

She was admitted to the bar in 1994, following which she worked at Shieff Angland, Rennie Cox and had a stint in London working for the Crown Prosecution Service in the drug confiscation unit. Cushla has experience in a wide range of litigation matters including civil litigation, resource management and ACC. In 2001 Cushla found her passion in Family Law. While continuing to specialise in Family Law Cushla set up a general practice Devonport Law in 2015. In April 2020 she moved to the independent bar. 

Cushla is a founding member of the Collaborative Advocacy New Zealand and is a member of the Family Law Committee of The Law Association. 



Brian Carter
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Brian is a barrister practising mainly in relationship property, trust, estate and COCA litigation. A former partner at McVeagh Fleming, he has lectured in family property law at Auckland University (2002-2004) and is a trained mediator. He is a regular contributor to CPD and is a long-standing member of ADLS' CPD Committee.



Pricing Details

Ticket Price

Member: $140.00 GST

Non-Member: $195.00 GST


Registration Close Date