This study describes the results of a survey of family law lawyers and their views of the use of collaborative processes, mediation, arbitration and litigation in family law disputes. The study provides valuable insights into the costs of these processes, how long cases take to resolve, and lawyers' perceptions of their efficacy. It suggests that most lawyers are using, and prefer to use, dispute resolution processes other than litigation to resolve family law disputes. Four-fifths of respondents use mediation, almost two-thirds use collaboration, and almost one-third use arbitration. Moreover, almost all lawyers surveyed agree that people should attempt to resolve their dispute through another process before litigating, and almost three-quarters agree that, except in urgent circumstances, people should be required to attempt to resolve their dispute through another process before litigating. Three-quarters of lawyers also agreed that litigation should only be used as a last resort, when other dispute resolution processes have failed. In light of today's straitened budgetary resources, the findings from this study provide information that is useful for policymakers and program developers in identifying best practices in cost-effective dispute resolution methods.
Canadian Forum on Civil Justice
Paetsch, J.J., Bertrand, L.D., & Boyd, J.-P. E. (2017). An Evaluation of the Cost of Family Law Disputes: Measuring the Cost Implication of Various Dispute Resolution Methods (rep.). Calgary, AB: Canadian Research Institutue for Law and the Family