Adversarial Mythologies: Policy Assumptions and Research Evidence in Family Law
This article contrasts policy advocacy of alternative dispute resolution, and demonization of lawyers and court proceedings in family law, with research evidence that calls those policy positions into question. The research demonstrates, broadly, that restrictions on the availability of publicly funded legal representation do not necessarily lead parties to choose alternative resolution processes, that lawyers are much less adversarial than self-representing litigants, and that lawyer representation and litigation may produce more satisfactory and appropriate outcomes than mediation in some kinds of family disputes. The article argues that legal aid policies should respond to these realities rather than clinging to adversarial mythologies.
Journal of Law and Society
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