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Professor Barlow gives keynote speech to the Dispute Resolution Conference at the East Midlands Conference Centre

Professor Anne Barlow, who leads the Mapping Paths to Family Justice Project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, gave the speech on 17th October. 

To an audience of over 150 family dispute resolution (DR) practitioners, she spoke of some the challenges and choices identified in their research project which face the DR community who are now dealing with the implications of the modernisation of the family justice system which place out of court dispute resolution – and particularly family mediation - centre stage.

In drawing together the views of parties and practitioners who have experienced different styles of out of court dispute resolution, she was able to indicate some strong features of best practice, particularly in family mediation and collaborative law as well as some of the challenges of using these processes where screening for domestic violence or mental health issues is not robust or where the two parties are not equally well equipped, emotionally or otherwise, to go through a process such as mediation without other support being put in place. 

The research findings call for Appropriate Dispute Resolution to be identified in each case and greater use of the range of expertise available to support families in making decisions and through the resolution process.  The project Briefing Paper sets out how best to match parties to appropriate processes, rejecting the current policy approach of one size fits all.


Date: 3 November 2014

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