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Evidence of a different nature: the child-responsive and less adversarial initiatives of the family court of Australia

journal contribution
posted on 01.01.2008, 00:00 authored by Jennifer McintoshJennifer Mcintosh, H D Bryant, K Murray
This article charts the constellation of vision and research that underpin a new era in the Family Court of Australia,
focusing on the development and outcomes of two programs that have attempted to meaningfully reinforce the
centrality of children’s rights and needs in family court proceedings. The Less Adversarial Trial and its frontend
Child Responsive Program (CRP) both aim to minimise the potentially negative effects on parents of a
litigation process by application of a more intensive case management model adopted with the intention of altering
the parents’ experience of the journey. Key features of this approach include the adoption of inquisitorial
techniques, which include direct consultation with children through the CRP, modified application of the rules
of evidence, and strong judicial management rather than being party driven. Findings from two studies into the
pilot Children’s Cases Program (now the Less Adversarial Trial) and the CRP are discussed. Significantly, evidence
is outlined around the capacity of the new processes to impact on both the co-parenting and parent–child relationships
and to influence short-term adjustment of complex families in high-conflict dispute. In encouraging a
more active focus on children’s needs and views and by facilitating a stronger voice for children in proceedings
that affect them, both initiatives advance Australia’s commitments under the United Nations Convention on the
Rights of the Child.



Family court review






125 - 136




London, Eng.





Publication classification

C Journal article; C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2008, Association of Family and Conciliation Courts