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The family dispute resolution of parenting matters in Australia : an analysis of the notion of an ‘independent’ practitioner

Cooper, Donna M. & Field, Rachael M. (2008) The family dispute resolution of parenting matters in Australia : an analysis of the notion of an ‘independent’ practitioner. QUT Law and Justice Journal, 8(1), pp. 158-175.

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Abstract

This article considers the contemporary nature of family dispute resolution in parenting matters in Australia. Our particular focus is on exploring a fundamental principle of family dispute resolution; namely, the purported ‘independence’ of family dispute resolution practitioners (FDRPs). Our analysis questions the reality of the notion of an ‘independent’ FDRP, particularly in the context of the current provisions of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) (‘Act’). We argue that in the modern practice of family dispute resolution, practitioners invariably take an active role – and that this also conflicts with the idea of an ‘independent’ practitioner. We contend that, in reality, the legislative and policy obligations of FDRPs mean that only a relatively narrow and limited notion of practitioner ‘independence’ can accurately be held out to parties participating in family dispute resolution. Such limitations must be acknowledged if the process is to be accurately represented, and if its practice is to be efficacious.

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ID Code: 18102
Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: family dispute resolution, mediation, independence, neutrality, parenting disputes
ISSN: 1445-6230
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 19 Feb 2009 13:11
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2012 15:40

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