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Family Matters No. 46 - April 1997

Resolution of disputes in family law

Should courts be confined to litigation?
Margaret Harrison

Abstract

The Attorney General has recently announced his intention to consider making far reaching changes to the delivery of primary dispute resolution services. The author states that the Attorney General's assumption that counselling within Court premises encourages parents to see litigation as the preferred solution to their difficulties contravenes both statistical evidence and client satisfaction surveys. Furthermore, she believes that his preference for devolution of the counselling and mediation work currently undertaken by Court staff to outside agencies needs to be questioned. In this article the author outlines the services the Family Court is currently providing, and the possible implications of reducing or removing these services.

The Attorney General has recently announced his intention to consider making far reaching changes to the delivery of primary dispute resolution services. The author states that the Attorney General's assumption that counselling within Court premises encourages parents to see litigation as the preferred solution to their difficulties contravenes both statistical evidence and client satisfaction surveys. Furthermore, she believes that his preference for devolution of the counselling and mediation work currently undertaken by Court staff to outside agencies needs to be questioned. In this article the author outlines the services the Family Court is currently providing, and the possible implications of reducing or removing these services.

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