Law Journals and Reviews


In the Best Interests of the Child: Juvenile Justice or Adult Retribution? 23 UH L. Rev. 341 (2000).


571-21 Complaint; investigation; petition. (a) Except as provided in subsection (b), whenever the court is informed by any person that a minor is within the purview of section 571-11(1) or (2), the intake officer shall make a preliminary investigation to determine whether informal adjustment is suitable under section 571-31.4 or 571-31.5. The court may authorize the filing of a petition, may make whatever arrangement for informal adjustment that is suitable under section 571-31.4, 571-31.5, or 571-31.6; or may take such action as is otherwise allowed under this chapter. Efforts to effect informal adjustment may be continued not longer than three months without review by the judge.

(b) In cases of violation of a law or ordinance by a child, the issuance of a citation or summons, when provided for by law or ordinance, shall be sufficient to invoke the jurisdiction of the court, which may proceed to dispose of such a case with or without preliminary investigation and the filing of a petition.

(c) When a complaint or petition is made or sought to be filed against a member of the complainant's family, the court's staff may, when required by the judge or if requested by either party, process the matter under section 571-31.3.

(d) In children's cases under section 571-11(1) and (2), the petition and all subsequent court documents shall be suitably entitled so as to indicate that the proceeding is in the interest of rather than against the child or minor involved. The petition shall be verified and statements may be made upon information and belief. The petition shall set forth plainly the:

(1) Facts that bring the child within the purview of this chapter;

(2) Name, age, and residence of the child;

(3) Names and residences of the child's parents; and

(4) Name and residence of the child's legal guardian if there is one, of the person or persons having custody or control of the child, or of the nearest known relative if no parent or guardian can be found.

If any of the facts required are not known by the petitioner, the petition shall so state. In cases brought pursuant to section 571-11(2)(A) and (C), a certified copy of the child's school attendance records shall constitute prima facie evidence of the child's nonattendance at school or nonreceipt of educational services. "Certified copy" means a copy signed by the principal and educator of the child whose class the child did not attend.

(e) The family courts may, by suitable orders, provide regulations concerning the titles, filing, investigation, and the form and content of petitions and other pleadings in cases under this chapter, or these matters may be governed by the rules of court. [L 1965, c 232, pt of 1; Supp, 333-12; am L 1966, c 22, 6; HRS 571-21; am L 1973, c 211, 1(d); am L 1977, c 11, 1; am L 1980, c 303, 7(3); gen ch 1985; am L 1992, c 66, 2; am L 1994, c 22, 2; am L 2018, c 18, 44]


Rules of Court


Commencement of action, see HFCR rules 3, 122.

Pleadings, see Hawaii Family Court Rules, part A(III).



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