A family justice model for Europe

A family justice model for Europe 23 October 2012

An over-arching family justice model comprised of the principles, guidelines and a best practice approach, based on the commonality of the human condition

Access to justice is of increasing concern as family disputes straddle many boundaries, however most countries follow their own path of problem solving in isolation, often re-inventing at least one spoke of the wheel of reform. The three concerns of congestion, delay and expense highlighted in the European Commission Green paper in 2002, was first identified by the American legal establishment over 40 years ago, and yet little or no progress has been made.

Barriers to reform which include applicable law and national, cultural and religious concerns, that create significant access to justice problems, can be surmounted by the development of an over-arching family justice model, with law as one component. To the forefront of that model are the multi-disciplinary experts and advisers; Mental health professionals; Social workers; Information disseminators, both legal and sociological; Mediators, Parenting planners and conciliators. Mandatory information programmes and mandatory mediation, with a costs sanction for failure to comply, would create a very necessary “cooling off” period, which would negate the incentive to issue first, which currently keeps litigation to the forefront of family dispute resolution in Europe.

Six successful innovations and six innovative ideas were nominated for the 2012 Innovating Justice Awards held on 2 November 2012. We feature them in a series of insights on the HiiL website.

Read about this original innovation on the Innovating Justice website.