Why Courts At All?

British family sociologist, Jacqueline Burgoyne, famously asked, “Why Courts At All?,”  in her 1987 co-authored book on the role of the courts and other social institutions in family separation.

Although there is clearly a role for both family and criminal courts when historical family violence is a demonstrable issue of concern, Burgoyne’s question remains unanswered; indeed, it is a question that is rarely asked.

Edward Kruk, Emeritus Professor of Social Work at the University of British Columbia addressed that ‘rarely asked question’ in a talk hosted by Shared Parenting Scotland on 24th August 2023.   

Dr Kruk is an advocate of shared parenting as the best solution for children and the best solution for parents, and is President of the International Council on Shared Parenting.

If family mediation and therapeutic interventions are to be effective with increasing numbers of families with children undergoing separation, the courts must allow space to make this happen. If a rebuttable presumption of equal shared parenting is legislated for – as is happening in several jurisdictions around the world – the courts can refocus their efforts on the important task of addressing family violence in all its forms.