The Potential for a Family Law Tribunal
Robinson, Patricia Lynn
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This thesis considers the potential for tribunal adjudication in family law, particularly for custody and access cases. The central argument is that a paradigm shift away from adversarialism may enable experimentation with a holistic tribunal-based family law settlement system, at least for family law cases in which a best-interests-of-the-child determination is required. It is suggested that within a holistic tribunal settlement system, multi-disciplinary mediators and adjudicators could share decision-making responsibility, nurture tribunal expertise and develop transparent decision-making guidelines, while adjudication could be relegated to a secondary, inquisitorial component. New empirical research on mediation and adjudication processes in selected tribunals is reported, which I argue is relevant to the potential for an alternative institutional approach to family law dispute resolution. I conclude that there appears to be sufficient potential for a tribunal approach to family law dispute resolution to warrant further research.