Taking the gloves off

01 MAY 2007

Lorraine Schaffer, Director of the Centre for Mediation and Conflict Resolution at the Institute of Family Therapy and Chair of the Advanced Certificate and MSc in Conflict Resolution and Mediation Studies run in collaboration with Birkbeck, University of London. Mediation is not an easy option in highly emotive family disputes. It is counterintuitive to our wish to 'get our own back' but the adversarial family law system fuels conflict and all too often diverts energies from resolving complex and emotional situations, often to the detriment of the children involved. Whereas the adversarial system tends to involve painting contrasting pictures, often in black and white, mediation encourages people to recognise a diversity of truths. It also tries to encourage co-operative parenting and a more amicable resolution to financial issues.

In a call for a more peaceful way forward, the author considers whether it is time for mediators to take the gloves off and advocate more strongly that mediation rather than litigation works more successfully in family disputes, and especially where children are concerned. For the full article see May [2007] Fam Law.

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