Partie ou chapitre de livre
National paths towards private ordering : professionals’ jurisdictions and separating couples’ privacy in the French and Canadian Family Justice Systems
Delivering Family Justice in the 21st Century
Oxford : Hart Publishing
87 - 105 p.
Family justice, Family law, Divorce, French system, Canadian system
Since the mid-1970s, socio-legal scholars have extensively analysed changes in family law and family justice systems. The recognition of ‘no-fault’ divorce and the rise of undisputed proceedings have changed the nature of judicial intervention in family regulation. The concept of ‘private ordering’, as Mnookin and Kornhauser called it, emphasises the institutionalisation of private decisions in family law. In this chapter, we aim to discuss this proposition through a double lens. First, we argue that the result of these policies of ‘private ordering’ varies according to whether the outcome or the process is taken into account. Settled decisions may not be as private as they seem to be if we observe the process that has led to them, as that has often involved professionals. To obtain a comprehensive approach to ‘private ordering’, we suggest distinguishing between two dimensions: decisions as the outcome of divorce ordering, but also the interactions between ex partners and professionals as the process towards decision. This hypothesis leads us to a second starting point. Although the trend towards ‘private ordering’ is shared by every Western jurisdiction, it has not reached the same level, and does not take the same form in all countries. Different paths have been experienced, depending on national patterns regarding the judicial system and the legal profession as well as public policy and family relations. To study these national paths, this study focuses on two family justice systems: France and Québec, the French-speaking province of Canada.