A major difficulty of family law is that the problems brought by families are often not primarily legal problems; they are deep human problems in which the law is involved. Settlements that are worked out among the parties, voluntarily and co-operatively, are not only more humane than those forced by litigation, but they are more practical, more economical and more likely to endure. In the federal Divorce Act and in recent Provincial legal reforms, Family Mediation received strong support as a meaningful alternative to traditional practices. To meet this challenge, this course will help students to develop a critical awareness of various co-operative approaches to dispute resolution, with particular emphasis on family mediation. To these ends, a feminist-informed and cultural sensitive perspective in this emerging interdisciplinary approach will be presented. Throughout, the practical application of theory, research findings and conflict resolution skills will be stressed. Role plays and videotapes of actual mediation session will be used.
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