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Three more policies: dual mediators, affirmative action, abandon pretentious attire

Policy recommendations, dual mediators, affirmative action, abandon pretentious attire

Three more policy recommendations:

POLICY 21
Dual mediators in FRCs
That the FRCs have two mediators present, one male and one female, during mediation sessions.
    
POLICY 22
Affirmative Action in the FRCs
That organisations hosting FRCs such as Relationships Australia and Centacare undertake affirmative action to ensure a minimum of 40% of either gender in their staff.
  
POLICY 23
Abandon archaic attire
That judges and magistrates of the Family Court system, as well as barristers, abandon their archaic attire (wigs and gowns).  What purpose does it serve other than to maintain a pretentious mystique?

Coordinator, Equal Parenting Movement

Co-director, Fathers4Equality

Geoff,

No 23 is attacking a 'Tradition' based on the long established English system. They might offer a compromise - we dress less formally if you dress properly - that a 'dress code' be established for people appearing in the Court - that would be quite a shock to many people who do not seem to comprehend that a major decision that will affect their life is about to take place and dress like they are going to the beach.

This is actually quite a serious issue - and the whys and true wherefores are dealt with by SRL-R in its materials and 'Courtmaster' sessions

By the way the FMC does not use wigs and gowns and in 12A hearings in the FCoA the Judge is very likely to remove his (or hers) under the 'less formality' directions of Bryant




Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
Geoff

No 21 - who is going to pay for this and what purpose would it really serve?

Changes that reduce Government costs go to the top of the pile -anything that means spending more money goes to the bottom

So from a practical point of view any 'changes' have to take this is mind.


Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas. 

Dress code, FRCs free versus cost recovery

Agog said
Geoff,

No 23 is attacking a 'Tradition' based on the long established English system. They might offer a compromise - we dress less formally if you dress properly - that a 'dress code' be established for people appearing in the Court - that would be quite a shock to many people who do not seem to comprehend that a major decision that will affect their life is about to take place and dress like they are going to the beach.

This is actually quite a serious issue - and the whys and true wherefores are dealt with by SRL-R in its materials and 'Courtmaster' sessions

By the way the FMC does not use wigs and gowns and in 12A hearings in the FCoA the Judge is very likely to remove his (or hers) under the 'less formality' directions of Bryant.
That the more progressive FMC magistrates (and barristers ?) do not use 19thC attire underlines its irrelevance in the 21stC and the obvious choice to abandon it in the FCoA.

I would go so far as to say the dress code should be SMART CASUAL - no suits or ties, and no t-shirts or thongs (and definitely no swimmers or bikinis ).  We should take steps to create a relaxed friendly environment.

It is interesting that the dress code for female litigants is already de facto smart casual.  Only men are obliged to wear buttoned collars with ties and suits that many don't own.

Where does one locate the SLR-R materials and 'Courtmaster' sessions ?
Agog said
Geoff

No 21 - who is going to pay for this and what purpose would it really serve?

Changes that reduce Government costs go to the top of the pile -anything that means spending more money goes to the bottom

So from a practical point of view any 'changes' have to take this is mind.
Glad you asked this.  All these policy recommendations need to be accompanied by a rationale and justification.  

In my case, before the Family Court process began, I organised a session at the Dispute Resolution Centre located in the Magistrates Court (nothing to do with the FCoA or FMC - they deal with all sorts of disputes).  The service was free.  There were two mediators, a man and a woman.  They were excellent, able to clarify the issues, get to the kernel, and look for ways around the sticking point.  (Unfortunately they had no authority to oblige participants to be fair and there was no resolution).

The government sees fit to fund these Dispute Resolution Centres to offset the social cost of lingering disputes which often then end up in court (or as violent crimes) and cost the government far more in an overburdened court system.

Two mediators on $30 an hour is going to be cheaper than one judge on $100 an hour plus other courtroom staff salaries.

The government is currently offering three hours free at FRCs.  It is unrealistic to think that most couples can resolve residency and property issues within three hours (they take two years in the Family Court system !)  

They should offer up to three blocks of three hours free of charge, with a reasonable cost (eg $20 per hour per parent) for further mediation. Family dispute resolution has always been subsidised.  The new system (if backed up by a Presumption of Equal Parenting Time legislation which will make the FRCs effective) will be far cheaper than the current system. Maybe people on $50,000 p.a. plus pay extra.  Those on $75,000 p.a. plus pay the full cost - say $40 per hour each.

Having two mediators is important.  As a thought exercise - if the chance of having a mediator who was acting in a biased manner (let's say they were having a bad day) was 5%, or 500 points.  If you have two mediators, it is more likely the other will check the bias of the other, so the chance of having both biased in any situation is far less than half, let's say 0.25% or 25 points.

I am not concerned primarily about providing cost-reducing opportunities for the government.  I am concerned with a viable and vastly improved alternative method to resolve conflict during family separation.  If they want to leave it at the bottom of the pile we may need to use other strategies to get it to the top.

Agog - thanks for your interest and feedback on the policy suggestions.  I have incorporated some of your ideas (the policy numbers are changing as the order of policies changes):

POLICY 25
Abandon archaic attire


That judges and magistrates of the Family Court system, as well as barristers, abandon their archaic attire (wigs and gowns).  The dress code for the FCoA and the FMC should be smart casual for the judge, barristers, solicitors, litigants and witnesses.  No ties or suits, and no thongs or t-shirts.

Rationale:
What purpose does it serve other than to maintain a pretentious mystique?   The more progressive FMC has abandoned the archaic attire for its magistrates.


POLICY 26
Free mediation at the FRCs


All couples are currently entitled to three hours mediation free of charge in FRCs.  Many couples will not be able to resolve complex issues in that time.  Couples on incomes less than $50,000 p.a. should receive a further six hours of free mediation at the FRCs (three blocks of three hours in total).  The cost of this is still far less than the cost of cases moving through the Family Court system.  After the free nine hours, couples with incomes less than $50,000 p.a. should have access to more mediation time paying $20 per hour each (or less / waived for unemployed people or pensioners etc).  

People with incomes $50,000 - $74,999 p.a. can receive the six extra hours of mediation at a rate of $20 per hour, and then pay $40 per hour after that.

People with incomes of $75,000 p.a. or more can receive three free hours, and then pay $40 per hour after that.

Cheers, Geoff

Coordinator, Equal Parenting Movement

Co-director, Fathers4Equality

Geoff

Why are you even bothering to defend your suggestion 23?

Geoff said
I would go so far as to say the dress code should be SMART CASUAL - no suits or ties, and no t-shirts or thongs (and definitely no swimmers or bikinis ).  We should take steps to create a relaxed friendly environment"

It might be smart casual in the tropics but is not in the colder Southern States. You want a relaxed friendly environment - go and watch a 12A hearing

It is interesting that the dress code for female litigants is already de facto smart casual.

Who says?

Only men are obliged to wear buttoned collars with ties and suits that many don't own.

There is no formal dress code - there is no obligation.

But guess what? we at SRL-R know far more about what happens at the front line of the Courtroom and why the way you dress can make a difference. No suit and we get them to Vinnies, $12 buys a suit and brownie points in the Court.

After all on F4E you posted:
There are people on this forum who appear to have very good insight and background knowledge into the government, and the legislation, and the courts
and then you cut and pasted one of my references to Diana Bryant.

I am not going to play into the other argument - too many Orders and Affidavits to work on tonight.

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
Agog.

The difference is that you are focussed on making the best of what is, and I am focussing on what is preferable, that's all.

I am only elaborating on dress code because you drew attention to it !  It is one of the last policy recommendations indicating level of priority.  But still worth noting.

Other draft policy recommendations are more important and need more work - let's focus on them.  Do you have suggestions for other policy recommendations perhaps not even considered so far?

What are the priorities of the SPCA ?

Cheers, Geoff

Coordinator, Equal Parenting Movement

Co-director, Fathers4Equality

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