Mapping paths to family justice - briefing paper and report on key findings
University of Exeter
The Family Justice System is undergoing radical change and part of the shifting landscape involves the encouragement towards settling Family Law disputes outside court. The Mapping Paths to Family Justice study has been an independent 3-year ESRC-funded academic research project undertaken by the Universities of Exeter and Kent, beginning in July 2011. The project’s central aim was to provide much needed evidence about the awareness, usage, experience and outcomes of the different ‘alternative’ or ‘out of court’ Family Dispute Resolution processes (FDRs). The refocusing of legal aid for private family law disputes on mediation, following the withdrawal of public funding for legal advice and court representation in such cases (other than in a narrow band of situations) by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO), has increased the relevance, importance and topical nature of this research to family policy and practice in this field, alongside academic debates. When the project was designed, the principal methods of resolving disputes without going to court were Solicitor Negotiation, Mediation and Collaborative Law and these are therefore its focus. Against this background, this Briefing Paper sets out the study’s aims and methods before reporting on the main findings to its research questions.
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Place of publication