Post written by Nicki Taylor

This Special Issue of Children Australia focuses on international child and family law topics. It includes nine high-quality articles from authors spanning three different countries – Australia, New Zealand and England. Each country has recently faced, or is currently facing, major reviews of its family justice system and so this issue is particularly timely as it addresses some of the key themes pertinent to both family members and professionals engaged in dispute resolution processes. These include international child abduction, relocation, family violence, care and protection, forced marriage, the ascertainment of children’s views, children’s post-separation contact and the effectiveness of Family Relationship Centres. 

Australia is world-renowned for its innovative approach to family law and many countries (including New Zealand, England and Wales) have benefited enormously from the legislative and practice initiatives developed and evaluated there. The forthcoming implementation of new proposals reforming the family justice systems of England/Wales and New Zealand is being undertaken with a careful eye on what has been learnt from the Australian reforms of 2006 and beyond. This cross-border sharing of experiences at the highest political, judicial and legal levels is mirrored somewhat in this Special Issue, in which an interdisciplinary mix of academics, researchers and practitioners from three common law jurisdictions touch on many of the contemporary issues facing the families and practitioners involved in the family justice system.

What the contributing authors have tried to achieve is an intermingling of research, policy and practice in both domestic and international contexts. Clearly, different jurisdictions grapple with similar challenges – and as economic and social changes enhance globalisation processes, the internationalisation of family life and the need for robust cross-jurisdictional responses will become even more evident. Sharing our professional experiences from interdisciplinary perspectives and incorporating feedback from the parents and children whose future relationships are profoundly affected by the quality of our family dispute resolution processes – whether these involve counselling, social work, mediation, legal negotiation and representation, arbitration or litigation – is vital.

This issue of Children Australia encapsulates many of these topics and has the potential to fire your imagination about the possibilities ahead for innovative best practice. Access the entire issue, without charge here.



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