This week is the first Family Dispute Resolution week which has been instigated by Resolution, an organisation of 6500 lawyers in England and Wales, who believe in a constructive, non-confrontational approach to all family law matters. The principle aim of launching a national awareness-raising campaign is to promote the benefits of Dispute Resolution to the public together with key influencers. Resolution says; “We want to ensure that non-court based options and the positive role that mediation, collaborative law, arbitration and other Dispute Resolution solutions can play in divorce and separation, are known to as many people as possible.” Statistics obtained by Resolution revealed that nearly half of British adults thought divorces involve a visit to Court, while 40% believed divorce could never be without conflict. Such a poll simply highlights the general lack of awareness of non Court options for family law matters.

Earlier in the Summer, proposals to change the adversarial nature of family courts and speed up cases in England and Wales were published in a report by Mr. Justice Ryder and backed by the head of the judiciary, the Lord Chief Justice. The report sets out to improve the culture for children, families, judges, lawyers, Social workers and Cafcass and to cut the ”unacceptably long delays in cases”.

The main proposals within the 25 page report can be found on the Major Family Law website in the attached link:-

Some of the proposals do not need legislation but will be introduced in parallel to proposed changes in the government’s Crime and Courts Bill and the Children and Families bill.
At a time when budgets are being slashed and Legal Aid for divorce cases is about to disappear forever, there is a huge concern that there will be a large rise in the number of self-represented parties in court. This in turn is bound to lead to increased delays in private cases.

In view of the significant changes that shall be occurring within all areas of family law, Resolution envisages MPs shall also see an increase in constituents visiting them for legal advice, so a handbook is being prepared by Resolution on Dispute Resolution which shall be sent to every MP in England & Wales and shall also be promoted at Parliamentary level.

Whilst there will always be disputes which can only be resolved in Court, there is now increasing momentum that people wish to divorce with dignity and wherever possible work out agreements with the help of their legal advisers in a civilised, dignified non confrontational way.

Thankfully at Major Family Law, we have invested heavily in ensuring that our lawyers are trained in the most up to date Family Law solutions and are able to fully embrace the changes ahead. We are a Full Service Specialist practice and three out of four of our legal practitioners are trained in dispute resolution methods, such as collaborative law. All Collaborative law specialists shall be attending the National Dispute Resolution conference in Oxford on Friday 28 September 2012.

At Major Family Law we aim to ensure that every divorce is a dignified divorce. For more information on Dispute Resolution or any other family law matter, please call Joanne Major on 01661 824582 or contact by email on: