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Non-court dispute resolution in family law – why simply emphasising its use is not enough

Date:6 JAN 2020

Over the last two decades there has undoubtedly been an increased emphasis on using non-court dispute resolution (N-CDR) in family law cases. The Family Procedure Rules 2010 (FPR) the Children’s and Family Act 2014 (CFA14) and the introduction of the Family and Children Arbitration schemes are but the highlights in a clear attempt to push parties towards N-CDR. Some attribute this increasing preference to N-CDR’s many benefits which are noted by the legislature (FPR 2010) the judiciary (W v M [2012] & ALvMT [2013]) and commentators alike (Edwards 2018 1221 & Kennett 2016 1). Others more cynically believe that the increased emphasis is simply a way for the government to balance the budget (Moore & Brookes 2018 32) and ease the pressure on a post-LAPSO judicial system that is crumbling from overuse (Stylianou 2017 445). Regardless of the rationale behind it the push towards N-CDR is ever-apparent and in theory should have drastically changed the way family disputes are being dealt with. But what impact has this increased emphasis actually had in practice?

A new approach

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