Why Courts At All?

A talk by Edward Kruk, Professor Emeritus of Social Work at the University of British Columbia, followed by a presentation from our 2023 student intern Natalia Rucka describing a range of initiatives in other jurisdictions which support separating parents to reach agreement and avoid court.

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, an advocate of shared parenting as the best solution for children and the best solution for parents, will address that ‘rarely asked question’ in a talk hosted by Shared Parenting Scotland.   

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.

Shared Parenting Scotland is promoting this discussion at a time when countries throughout the world are developing alternatives to adversarial family courts and seeking better ways to support separating parents towards co-parenting.

The talks will take place on Thursday 24th August from 7-9pm at 10 Palmerston Place, Edinburgh EH12 5AA. Places can be booked at WHY COURTS AT ALL? Tickets, Thu 24 Aug 2023 at 19:00 | Eventbrite

* Divorce Matters (Penguin, 1987), co-authored with Sir Roger Ormrod and Martin Richards)