Family law: the future

The Family Justice system is now subject to fundamental and far-reaching change with both public and private law consultations underway with regards to children law with a clear emphasis on private law cases being kept or pushed out of the court system.

The same trend can be expected in respect of finance cases [aided by the Big Data project]. Family structures are changing with fewer marriages, less divorce and cohabitation on the rise. The makeup of families is also changing and will need different solutions when they break down. 

Clients are demanding services delivered in different ways, they expect that our response will be compatible with other services they commonly use, whether that is electronically or  in the way we provide face to face services. We have an opportunity to lead the way by enabling DR specialists to provide the best services they can for their clients.

But are there barriers that currently prevent Resolution and other DR professionals from supporting clients in new ways? We are bound by standards set by external bodies. To some degree, we have also created structures and set standards for ourselves that might stifle innovation, limiting the development of best practice and most importantly, are not want our clients expect, want or need. 

DR practice continues to develop but the barriers to getting involved and using the different types of DR process available mean that these processes could become even more sub-divided, ‘niche’ and less connected to our everyday practice. Yet DR and solution seeking skills are the very skills that the best family professionals use or will need to use. 

The 2019 conference will open with an examination of how the current and future environment for a landscape of family practice is likely to be shaped and changed by the reforms, by digital technology and most importantly by changing consumer behaviour. The workshop will include thinking about what changes and adjustments to practice are likely to help to capture the future client market and maximise fee potential.

David Emmerson
Angela Lake-Carroll 
Brighter Future