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Family Solutions Group Report: A family mediator’s response: Parts I and II

Date:24 JUN 2021
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Marian Roberts  Family Mediator Former Visiting Fellow and Guest Teacher on the LSE ADR Law Masters

The Family Solutions Group (FSG) Report of November 2020 makes some commendable proposals for addressing the multiple needs of separating and divorcing families with particular focus on safety concerns reducing conflict and giving greater centrality to children’s rights. This article seeks to highlight the Report’s more contentious recommendations particularly those relevant to family mediation.

Part 1 explores the implications of prioritising the rights of the child in dispute resolution processes over all other considerations (apart from safety) contrary to national professional and ethical standards as well as raises concerns about proposals that promote greater welfare surveillance of separating families. Part 1 highlights too the paternalist prescriptive and ethnocentric implications of the recommendation that ‘making positive eye contact’ should be the single culturally expected standard of behaviour for separated parents at handover times (where safety is not an issue) and that this should become a court created ‘definable welfare threshold’  (para 13).

Part 11 raises equally serious concerns relating to the Report’s recommendations for language changes that diffuse rather than clarify...

Read the full article here.