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    Beyond the Courtroom Door: Exploring the Feasibility of Child Protection Mediation in Ireland

    Murphy, Rebecca (2021) Beyond the Courtroom Door: Exploring the Feasibility of Child Protection Mediation in Ireland. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    In recent years, the Irish child protection and welfare system has witnessed an unprecedented level of increase in legislative and policy development. However, one area that remains relatively unexplored in Ireland is the use of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, such as mediation, in child protection proceedings. By contrast, in other jurisdictions, such as in the United States of America and Canada, the incorporation of mediation within the child protection system has increasingly been advocated as a genuine alternative to wholly adversarial proceedings. Child protection mediation can provide parties with the opportunity to improve family communication, reduce high levels of conflict, avoid excessive litigation and reach a personalised agreement in the best interests of the child. Unfortunately, in Ireland, child protection mediation has not heretofore been fully explored or researched and a determination of its value in the protection of child safety and welfare has not been reached. Therefore, building on existing research regarding alternative dispute resolution processes, this thesis set out to explore the feasibility of child protection mediation in Ireland and the extent to which is could aid child safety and welfare. The research adopted a triangulated research methodology approach through the use of surveys, semi-structured interviews and structured observations. The thesis analysed data from three research phases: Phase 1 examined child protection mediation with national stakeholders and the Irish judiciary; Phase 2 examined systems operating in certain jurisdictions of the United States of America and Canada, in which child protection mediation is increasingly recognised as an invaluable mechanism; and Phase 3 determined the extent to which alternative dispute resolution mechanisms are currently being used in child welfare and protection disputes in Ireland. The key finding from the study was that the implementation of child protection mediation in Ireland could aid child welfare and improve the quality of decision-making in child protection cases. However, this thesis is not advocating that child protection mediation should be used in all child protection cases and, therefore, it should not be seen as a panacea. Rather, this thesis presents the reasoned, evidence-based argument for considering the use of mediation, in certain aspects of child protection proceedings.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Courtroom Door; Feasibility; Child Protection Mediation; Ireland;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Law
    Item ID: 14911
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2021 11:14
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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