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Mediation - A Necessary Element in Family Dispute Resolution?

A Comparative Study of the Australian Model of Alternative Dispute Resolution for Family Disputes and the Situation in German Law

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Heike Stintzing

Mediation as a method of alternative dispute resolution is gaining increased attention in a growing number of legal areas. In Australian law family counselling was developed to deal with issues related to family disputes. It is brought in prior to court settlement of disputes and thus integrated into the system of conflict resolution. The characteristics and use of alternative dispute resolution call into question the role of the court as the sole forum for institutionalised conflict resolution. For this reason the transferability of the concept of mediation into the German legal system needs to be examined. In particular, it needs to be measured against the yardstick of the German Constitution, which by granting basic substantive and procedural rights, sets out the demands a modern state of law makes on a method of conflict resolution.
Contents: Background to the Implementation of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Methods - ADR, Explanation and Evaluation; Presentation of the Australian Model - Differences between the Australian and German Legal Systems - Constitutional Problems Specific to German Law - Overall Conclusions and Implications.