Mapping Paths to Family Justice: matching parties, cases and processes (£)
Rosemary Hunter, Anne
Barlow, Janet Smithson and Jan Ewing
One of the aims of the recently-completed Mapping Paths to Family
Justice project was to determine which kinds of cases and parties are more or
less suited to different forms of family dispute resolution – mediation, solicitor
negotiation or collaborative law – in order to provide guidance to
practitioners and parties facing the array of family dispute resolution options.
This article reports the findings on this aspect of the project. It first
outlines the experiences of the parties surveyed and interviewed in being
offered and choosing an out-of-court dispute resolution process. Many parties
felt their choices to be constrained for a variety of reasons, and few appeared
to have been given a real choice between options. The article goes on to
consider factors which might render each of the three processes most
appropriate or, conversely, which might suggest court proceedings are
necessary, finding that the disposition of the parties is a key consideration.
It finally suggests ways in which parties might both be better informed about
their options, and be given a wider
range of options, including different models of mediation to suit particular
types of cases.
The full version of this article appears in the October 2014 issue of Family Law.