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Alienation, Hostility and High Conflict - looking past the labels to find real, workable solutions

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Alienation, Hostility and High Conflict - looking past the labels to find real, workable solutions

Trainer:  Matthew Richardson, Barrister, Coram Chambers

This course will be held on-line on Thursday 10 June 2021 2 pm - 5.00 pm

This course aims to consider 'what works' in relation to achieving agreements and finding solutions for parents in conflict over the care of their child/ren.  A frequent aim of a family law professional is to help or persuade someone to think in a different way, to enable them to re-frame the problem, see it from another perspective and from someone else's point of view.

Matthew Richardson is using applied psychology in his work with parents in conflict.   In his experience, once someone takes up the 'baton of litigation' the position necessarily becomes adversarial.  The professional person involved sometimes has to be brave enough to confront the parent they are dealing with.

Effective resolution requires lawyers on both sides to strive towards agreement as well as the parents.  This can be difficult where those on each side become entrenched and instinctively or automatically try to identify counter-arguments.  The lines between cases where there is genuine ‘intractable hostility’ or ‘alienation’ and cases of relatively usual parental discord become blurred when the conflict is flamed by the professionals.  There is a real risk that the litigation conflict can be conflated with the family dynamics such that the family’s situation gets worse than it would have been otherwise.

Matthew looks at what professionals can do to make sure they help, rather than hinder, the process, and does so within the context of ‘high conflict’ cases, informed by the readily available lessons of applied psychology.  These cases can be some of the most difficult to deal with, but at the same time are among the cases where family law professionals can have the biggest influence on the outcome – both positive and negative.

Key content includes case strategy, the use of language (for example should we really ever be using the language of ‘alienation’?), common mistakes of logic and reasoning (both in parents and professionals), the instruction of experts and the involvement of other dispute resolution processes.

For application form, further details and to check availability please contact Nagalro: 01372 818504 or email

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