Institutional mechanisms: courts, lawyers and others

Authored by: Mavis Maclean , John Eekelaar

Routledge Handbook of Family Law and Policy

Print publication date:  May  2014
Online publication date:  May  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415640404
eBook ISBN: 9780203796221
Adobe ISBN: 9781134447534


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Reflecting global economic conditions, current issues regarding the delivery of family justice are largely driven by concerns over costs. Jurisdictions that have in the past attempted to develop therapeutic models to supplement or even partially replace ‘adversarial legal’ models, such as in the family court movement in the United States, or the Family Court of Australia, have found that these models require significant resources if they are to be effective. In New Zealand, for example, a government Consultation Paper starts with the premise that the costs of the current family court are not sustainable. 1 Countries have, therefore, been seeking ways to ration these resources within the court system through triage processes, promoting alternative dispute resolution, and seeking to divert cases from the courts. However, strong out-of-court structures, such as the Australian Family Relationship Centres, can have high costs as was recognised by a Canadian Working Group which, reflecting reform proposals in many provinces, recommended significant promotion of non-court dispute resolution. 2

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