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dc.contributor.authorRathus, Zoe
dc.description.abstractAlthough the role of social science research in the family law system has been the subject of scholarly research for some time, less attention has been paid to how operating within the legal system might influence the work of social science and related expert witnesses who perform in that space. This article reports on interviews with family report writers, social science or similar expert witnesses, who provide assessments for the Australian family courts in contested cases about post-separation children’s arrangements. It explores the impact of the law, or how those professionals perceive the law is applied, and the complexity of the family law system on these expert witnesses, particularly when working with families with allegations of domestic and family violence. The study shows that the participants are deeply acculturated to the legal system. They know how to speak its language and are aware of the different audiences they speak to including the court, the lawyers and the parents. Although an understanding of the legal context is essential for expert witnesses, the study suggests that the legal system, and their experience of it, may influence their assessment framework, affect their recommendations, and consequently impact parenting orders. Although this article investigates the situation in Australia, the results raise questions for similar family law jurisdictions which rely on family assessment reports.
dc.publisherOxford University Press (OUP)
dc.relation.ispartofjournalInternational Journal of Law, Policy and the Family
dc.subject.fieldofresearchLaw and legal studies
dc.subject.keywordsfamily report writers
dc.subject.keywordssocial science
dc.subject.keywordsAustralian family courts
dc.subject.keywordsfamily law system
dc.subject.keywordsassessment framework
dc.subject.keywordsfamily assessment report
dc.titleSocial scientists operating in the law: a case study of family assessment experts in the Australian family law system
dc.typeJournal article
dc.type.descriptionC1 - Articles
dcterms.bibliographicCitationRathus, Z,Social scientists operating in the law: a case study of family assessment experts in the Australian family law system, International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family, 2021, 35 (1)
gro.hasfulltextNo Full Text
gro.griffith.authorRathus, Zoe S.

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