Presumptive Consensual Dispute Resolution (CDR) assumes that families experiencing separation or divorce are mostly better served if the system encourages them to negotiate rather than fight about issues in dispute between them.
The A2JBC Presumptive CDR initiative is about supporting and testing an integrated model that combines:
- Accessible information and mandatory education
- A mandatory upfront assessment process before going to court that also refers families to needed and affordable legal and other services
- A presumption that most families would benefit from a process that assists them in negotiating resolution of some or all aspects of their dispute, and
- Targeted and timely Court intervention when needed.
An A2JBC Presumptive CDR Working Group was created and met first in September 2016. After hearing from representatives of the Provincial Court Rules Committee at the Provincial Court level and meeting with the BC Supreme Court Family Law Committee, the group concluded it could best contribute by pursuing a project that covered families with legal issues under the exclusive jurisdiction of the BC Supreme Court (for example, property issues). It was decided that Victoria was the most promising site for such a project, and a new Victoria-based working group was created. (Members).
The A2JBC Working Group will promote and support a project in Victoria to find a way to appropriately and effectively encourage negotiation among separating families who are engaged in toxic, time-consuming court disputes within the jurisdiction of the BC Supreme Court. These are the disputes that are both financially and emotionally devastating for families, and create particular strain on the system.
Design of the project will be done in collaboration with users and local justice service providers and involve a user-centred design approach. The Access to Justice Triple Aim will be used to measure success of the project.