Solutions Put Forward to Change Family Law

 

Solutions Put Forward to Change Family Law

Along with J.P. Boyd, QC’s suggestion of removing family cases from the courts and placing them into a special administrative tribunal aimed at promoting the well-being of children, he advocates greater use of unbundled legal services and non-lawyers assisting clients
with legal problems.

What other solutions have been put forward to change family law? Here is a sampling:

Nick Hilborne wrote an article in legalfutures.co.uk entitled, “Family lawyers need to replace billing targets with new business model” (August 5, 2021) in which he interviewed Gillian Bishop, co-founder of pioneering London firm Family Law in Partnership (“FLiP”). Ms. Bishop stated: “Family lawyers should scrap billing targets and develop a new business model.” To Ms. Bishop, billing targets are a dead weight around the necks of many, many practitioners and lead to many young lawyers working longer and longer hours each day in order to hit them. “I have heard so many times that to record five hours chargeable a day you routinely have to be in the office twice that time. Just crazy.”

Ms. Bishop stated, “a number of commercial firms now operate without a billing target model, showing that ‘it can be done,’ and the challenge was to create a variation of that model or ‘another model altogether’ that worked for the family law sector.”

She also stated that she “would like to see greater use of collaborative law.”

FLiP has taken some steps along a new path. Three years ago, FLiP started the first training scheme in psychologically based supervision to help family lawyers manage work-related stress and Ms. Bishop said, “that supervision should be compulsory for family lawyers.”

In the UK, there is a major overhaul of family courts to protect domestic abuse victims. The Ministry of Justice published a press release stating:

“Fundamental reform of how the courts hear cases, through a new investigative approach, will be trialed as part of the Integrated Domestic Abuse Courts pilot — these consider family and criminal matters in parallel in order to provide more consistent support for victims. Emphasis will be placed on getting to the root of an issue and ensuring all parties are safe and able to provide evidence on an equal footing — without the retraumatising effects of being in court with an abusive ex-partner.”

The Ministry stated, “that this move came after an expert-led review into how the family courts handle domestic abuse and other serious offences had raised concerns that victims and children were being put at unnecessary risk.”

In an article entitled, “A New Approach To Nesting In Family Law,” Aylward Game Family Law, in Australia, states:

“Frequently after parents separate, it is the children who switch homes between the parents, with varying degrees of frequency. This means it is the children who are subject to the demands of frequent packing up and moving house in order to spend time with each of their parents. We have in the past reflected that it must feel a little unfair to the children to be subject to this arrangement, which can be very disruptive.

The idea behind nesting turns this on its head, and the children stay in one house and the parents are the ones who move in and out. This seems to place the best interests of the children at the top of the list of priorities, which is in line with the Family Law Act in Australia.”