The day of the dinosaur is dead: looking back at dispute resolution week

By Suzanne Kingston

We are now at the end of dispute resolution week (DR) promoting #keepingitoutofcourt. This is not only a constructive and sensible objective but surely the way family lawyers need to go. There has been a huge shift in the last five to 10 years and long may it continue.

Nearly all of the mainstream commentators in the world of family law advocate the use of dispute resolution and not court. Firstly, in the Family Justice Review final report, David Norgrove found ‘a system that is not a system, characterised by mutual distrust and lack of leadership, by incoherence and without solid evidence-based knowledge about how it really works’.

More recently the judges have come out in support of DR — Mr Justice Coleridge is clear: current divorce and financial provision law, he said, was ‘designed in a wholly different era to deal with a wholly different society and way of life’ and is no longer fit for purpose. Further, this issue was recently highlighted by the President Lord Justice Munby in the seventh view from the president’s chambers, in which he stated that the court system has lost the respect of its users…

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