Exploring the impact and effect of self-representation by one or both parties in Family Law proceedings involving allegations of family violence
This study aimed to:
- generate new knowledge regarding the impact of self-representation on participants’ experiences of the Family Law process where the victim and/or the perpetrator of the violence are self-represented
- document current practice in the Family Law Courts when one or both parties are without legal representation and the matter involves allegations of family violence
- identify strengths, deficiencies or gaps in current practice
- make recommendations that seek to respond directly to the issues, concerns and practices that are documented in the research.
To achieve this, the research used a general interview sample of semi-structured interviews with sellf-represented litigants (SRLs) and professionals who engage with SRLs in Family Law proceedings. The research also involved an intensive case study involving court observation, case file review, and interviews with SRLs or other representatives involved in those observed/reviewed cases.
The final report emphasises the need for enhanced, up-to-date and practical information for SRLs in multiple formats—and provision for languages other than English—including a centralised, authoritative website for SRLs. It highlights the need for increased access to lawyers and legal advice for SRLs, particularly with regard to better assisting SRLs with ongoing litigation and with preparation and drafting of documents. It recommends possible systemic change to address the current fragmentation of areas of law that respond to family violence.
Dr Jane Wangmann, University of Technology, Sydney
Ms Miranda Kaye, University of Technology Sydney
A/Prof Tracey Booth, University of Technology Sydney
Exploring the impact and effect of self-representation by one or both parties in family law proceedings involving allegations of family violence: Key findings and future directionsDownload
Funded by Australian Commonwealth, state and territory governments under ANROWS’s 2017 core grant round.