Lawyers' Views of Decision-Making in Child Protection Matters: The Tension between Adversarialism and Collaborative Approaches

Monash University Law Review, 38 2: 181-211, 2012

Posted: 19 Jun 2015

See all articles by Tamara Walsh

Tamara Walsh

University of Queensland

Heather Douglas

The University of Queensland - TC Beirne School of Law

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

Outcomes in child protection cases impact substantially on children and families. Decisions in child protection matters must, therefore, be made with due caution and sensitivity. In order for the best outcomes to be achieved for children and their families, research suggests that decisions should be made collaboratively, and proceedings should be less adversarial in nature. At the same time procedural rules should be rigorously adhered to when decisions of a serious nature are being made, particularly where State interference in individuals.' lives has occurred or is being contemplated. Thus, there is a tension in the child protection context between the use of informal dispute resolution methods, and the need to safeguard the rights of children and families. This tension is explored in this paper, with particular reference to the principles of natural justice and the rules of evidence. The discussion is informed by empirical research undertaken with child protection lawyers in Queensland. The authors conclude with some suggestions for reform which reflect the ideal of collaboration without compromising the need for procedural fairness.

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

Walsh, Tamara and Douglas, Heather, Lawyers' Views of Decision-Making in Child Protection Matters: The Tension between Adversarialism and Collaborative Approaches (2012). Monash University Law Review, 38 2: 181-211, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2620073

Tamara Walsh (Contact Author)

University of Queensland ( email )

St Lucia
Brisbane, Queensland 4072
Australia

Heather Douglas

The University of Queensland - TC Beirne School of Law ( email )

The University of Queensland
St Lucia
4072 Brisbane, Queensland 4072
Australia

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
185
PlumX Metrics