n Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Divorce mediation in Australia - valuable lessons for family law reform in South Africa

Volume 40, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



It was officially recommended that the proposed South African Family Court be modelled fairly closely on, , the Australian Family Court. Since its inception, this court has had a social component which emphasised the importance of counselling and conciliation in divorce matters and responded to the demand for divorce and family mediation. In addition, family law legislation of the past thirty years provides strong evidence of the Australian government's commitment both to the provision of alternatives to litigation for the solution of disputes surrounding family breakdown and the strong encouragement of separating spouses to avail themselves of these alternatives before resorting to litigation. The most important of these are the Family Law Act 1975, the Family Law Reform Act 1995, the Federal Magistrates Act 1999 and the Family Law Rules 2004. The manner in which these pieces of legislation attempt to integrate alternative dispute methods, especially mediation, into the family law system is examined in this article. Further, certain problems with the present family law system in Australia relating to divorce and family mediation are set out as well as the very recent endeavours of the Australian government to address these problems.

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