How we can help...
supporting access to justice
At Mediation Answers, we also care about access to justice, and innovative ways to encourage support for Not For Profit organisations in law.
Principal Zoë Durand brings both art and law together in her solo exhibition, The Wanderer at the Arthouse Hotel (275 Pitt Street, Sydney), running from 4th August to 8th November. Importantly, a portion of the proceeds of paintings sold will go to Youth Law Australia, Minds Count and Justice Connect.
Zoë believes there is a beautiful big hearted logic to the proceeds of art purchased for law firm foyers and offices going back to support access to justice. She seeks to create a generous link between law firms and the not-for-profit law sector through art and change the way law firms consume art. This exhibition is only the first iteration of her project to encourage law firm art for access to justice. If you or your firm are interested in being involved please contact Zoë.
Other ways in which Mediation Answers is supporting access to justice include:
Two of Zoë's artworks are in the Finals for the NSW Law Society Just Art competition, raising funds for Our Watch, on 19 August 2019.
Zoë is donating art to raise funds for the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) at the NSW Law Society Young Professional's Charity Ball on 31 August 2019.
innovation and law reform advocacy and discussion
At Mediation Answers, beyond simply helping individual people resolve their disputes, we also are passionate about the bigger picture of innovation in family law. We are take an interest in law reform and affecting positive change on the ground by empowering everyone with quality, accessible information about family law and also sparking discussion about how family law could be done differently (and better).
Zoë Durand has provided her perspectives on family law reform in Lawyers Weekly and various other media, including The Chinese Edition of The Australian. As expressed in Lawyers Weekly she takes the view that “everyone who works in family law has a role to play in speaking up.”
Part of the reason Zoë authored Inside Family Law and continues this project through her podcast is to demystify family law and empower everyone with access to the leading minds in family law. Inside Family Law was the first of its kind to bring a 360 degree perspective of the process from all the various stakeholders involved in the family law system. At the launch of her book she said:
All of us in the family law area go to functions, lunches, events where we talk candidly about family law amongst ourselves. What is working, what is not, what needs to change? This book is about letting everyone in on the conversation. To demystify family law for all and allow everyone to, in a sense, have a lunch and chat with a Judge, barrister, court expert or lawyer and have the ability to pick the brains of the leading minds.
Another motivation for this book was to give a voice to those who have experienced the system first hand, both adults and also young people reflecting on their experiences and teenagers and children in the system. Personally I think there is an under reporting of these types of firsthand experiences in the public sphere. Now obviously this is partly because of certain restrictions in the Family Law Act (and obviously the personal stories in my book are carefully anonymised and de-identified) but I do think somehow we need to make it more possible for people’s stories to be told and heard.
In addition to the practical tips that each interviewee offers, there is also a slightly disruptive side to the book. I did put the hard questions to those interviewed. Basically I put to the interviewees all the questions my clients had asked me over the years.
For example I asked an expert psychiatrist how is it that people can be diagnosed with say personality disorders after a few hours meeting? (And to be fair he gave a very thoughtful and detailed answer, but you need to read the book to see it!)
I asked a Judge for his thoughts on how litigants in Court sometimes say they feel they are being processed and simply taken from A to B to C, or as one father I interviewed put it “getting on and off at various bus stops.”
On that note I think all of us – including myself – can at times get caught up in processes and tick boxing our way through matters. Part of this book is about taking a breath and asking ‘what is it we are really doing here?’ ‘What is it we are really doing’?
Obviously beyond my own personal desire to create Inside Family Law, this book could be placed in a wider context. As you are all aware currently the largest wholesale review of the Family law Act since 1975 is underway.
Also speaking of wider contexts, this book could be placed within the current zeitgeist of telling the hidden or previously untold story. I am not saying this book is the next ‘MeToo’ – but there is an aspect that is about speaking up, and taking conversations that were previously kept within the profession to the public, or telling firsthand stories of the family law process that frankly I think are not told often enough."
We care about the bigger picture of law reform, access to justice and empowering everyone with quality information
Mediation and Family Dispute Resolution services
Mediation Answers your dispute
Lvl 21, 133 Castlereagh Street
Phone: (02) 8379 1853
Fax: (02) 8249 4001