07 June 2018

Evaluating the Cost of Family Law Disputes

The Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family (CRILF) recently released a report entitled "An Evaluation of the Cost of Family Law Disputes: Measuring the Cost Implication of Various Dispute Resolution Methods" by Joanne J. Paetsch, Lorne D. Bertrand, and John-Paul E. Boyd.  Family law lawyers were surveyed for their views on dispute resolution processes, including the processes' costs, duration and perceived efficacy.  The information was used to conduct a Social Return on Investment analysis, which the authors explain is a framework "for measuring and communicating the social, economic or environmental impact of investment in an organization, project or program" (see page two). The report generally shows that Collaborative law and mediation result in less costly and more efficient outcomes that meet the needs of the parties and are in the best interests of the children. This report echoes experiences of members of the Collaborative Divorce Vancouver practice group. 

The Canadian Forum on Civil Justice contracted the CRILF to create the report, and used the report to create an excellent set of infographics that clearly shows the benefits of Collaborative law and mediation. 

A useful tip from my colleague Anna Silver is to provide the report to clients and their spouses, to help them decide which dispute resolution process to use. 

Another report released this spring is the Self-Represented Litigants Project's report by Sandra Shushani and Julie Macfarlane entitled "When Judges see SRLs, Do They See Gender? Observations on Gendered Characterizations in Judgements."  Their blog explains the ways in which they hope this report will help the judiciary when they have self-represented litigants in their courtrooms.