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‘It's good to talk’ – judicial allocation decision making and the Family Court

Potter, A, Newton, KJ and McLaughlin, H (2015) ‘It's good to talk’ – judicial allocation decision making and the Family Court. Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, 37 (2). pp. 180-193. ISSN 1469-9621

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This article focuses on the opportunities and potential benefits of collaborative judicial working and social processes within the new Family Court. To illustrate this, findings from a recent evaluation by the authors of the Greater Manchester Gatekeeping and Allocation – Care Proceedings Pilot (the Manchester Pilot) will be presented. In the Manchester Pilot, the allocation of care cases to a particular level of court became a collaborative judicial decision, to be achieved through consensual decision making. The social processes of face-to-face communication, negotiation, knowing and learning from each other in this new procedure, provide the main area of analysis in this article. Findings from our evaluation illustrate issues and opportunities for the lower courts under the new allocation arrangements within the Family Court, and may in some respects reflect aspects of other research of social processes such as Paterson's studies in the appellate courts.

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