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This report describes the experiences of seven Partnership Projects funded for two years in 2001 by the Australian Government. The aim of the projects was to develop integrated and collaborative approaches for the early and effective use of Primary Dispute Resolution (PDR) services in the community. The focus of the partnership projects was on cooperation at the local level between the agencies and professions that deal with family law disputes. Funding was not available for 'core' service activities. However, projects were expected to lead to sustainable models of collaborative service delivery, which may guide future policy decisions.

PDR is the terminology introduced in the 1995 amendments to the Family Law Act 1975 to emphasise the central importance of alternatives to litigation as a means of resolving family disputes. The Act does not, however, define 'primary dispute resolution' or 'mediation' or 'counselling' or other forms of dispute resolution used in the family law context. Within the field, alternative dispute resolution or 'ADR' is used to describe a wide range of dispute resolution services, generally involving third party neutral assistance to negotiations. In this paper, PDR refers to the wide range of processes people use to resolve conflicts and sort out differences when they wish to protect the relationship of the parties rather than become adversaries or pursue litigation. These processes range from everyday problem-solving approaches to resolving conflicting needs, views or desires, to more formal non-adversarial processes such as mediation. Definitions of ADR can be found at <https://www.ag.gov.au/LegalSystem/AlternateDisputeResolution/Pages/default.aspx>.
Date Published: Tuesday, 1 June 2004
ISBN: 0642 21123 x