– Family law proceedings: Should mediation be the first step in all?

Judge Joe Harman
1.30 in Wilarra

Other sessions in this timeslot
The best ever.. 1.5hrs
Bringing con.. 1.5hrs

Breaking down.. 45min
Back to program

Since 2006 it has been necessary for Australian litigants to attend or explore attendance at Family Dispute Resolution before commencing parenting proceedings. However, neither the Family Law Act nor the Commonwealth Civil Dispute Resolution Act require any attempt at Family Dispute Resolution or mediation before commencing property adjustment proceedings. This is at a time of dramatically increasing workloads and diminishing Court resources.

For 3 months in late 2014 Judge Harman obtained data with respect to each of the property adjustment matters that came into his docket – 80 matters in total – and discovered that in only 2 of these 80 matters (or 2.5% of cases) had the parties attended mediation. Those matters were then reviewed 6 months later at which point 47 (or nearly 60%) had resolved.

In the same period data from 296 cases involving parenting applications was collected to determine attendance at “mandatory mediation” and the impact this regime is having on Court filings and settlement of cases. Using this data and a consideration of relevant literature this paper will explore the question “should mediation be the first step in all family law proceedings?”

Get to know Judge Harman
Judge Harman (3)Judge Harman was appointed to the Federal Circuit Court of Australia in June 2010. Prior to joining the Court Judge Harman worked in private practice as a lawyer and with a special interest in the Independent Representation of Children, Indigenous Issues and Family Violence. In addition Judge Harman worked extensively as a mediator/FDRP in both private and community practice including working at Blacktown and Bathurst FRCs and with Unifam Penrith. Judge Harman has also lectured at UWS in family law and mediation.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s