Professor Trevor Buck, Professor of Socio-Legal Studies at De Montfort University

An evaluation of the long-term effectiveness of mediation in cases of international parental child abduction

Trevor BuckProfessor Buck discusses his research report launched at the Nuffield Foundation earlier this year. The research project focused on capturing the long-term effectiveness of mediation as deployed by Reunite, the UK's main NGO that provides advice on international parental child abduction cases brought under the Hague Convention of 1980. The aim was to see whether the mediation model operated by Reunite has worked over time. The main research tool used was the use of in-depth telephone interviews with individuals who had participated in Reunite’s mediation process from January 2003 to December 2009. 52 individuals were interviewed between September 2010 and August 2011, using a semi-structured interview guide. Our second and supplementary research tool was a system of case reading by the research team – there were regular meetings set up after a batch of transcripts had been pre-read and where Reunite’s case file was available to supplement and provide further information about the chronology and process of each case under consideration.

An important element in the architecture of this report is the distinction that we draw between:

  • cases where the mediation was completed – i.e. a Memorandum of Understanding had been reached and quickly followed by a consent order in the courts: we call these ‘resolved cases’ in the report; and
  • cases where the mediation was not completed, i.e. where it was not agreed in mediation and had to be referred back to the courts for an authoritative decision: we call these ‘unresolved cases’ in the report.

Of our overall set of 52 cases, we identified 29 that were ‘resolved’ and 23 that were ‘unresolved’. A summary of the findings can be found on pp. 8-12 of the report in relation to both 'resolved' and 'unresolved' cases. Overall the key message of the report is that mediation in this specialised context should be used selectively and proportionately.

The full report is available on DMU's institutional repository.

Event details

Wednesday 26 September 2012, 17:00 - 19:30
UWE Bristol, Frenchay Campus


Trevor joined Leicester De Montfort Law School in September 2006, following posts at the Universities of Leicester and Lancaster and Lancashire Polytechnic.

His main research and teaching interests include administrative justice, international child law and social security. He is currently the School of Law’s Head of Research, and also chairs the Law Research Committee and sits on a number of other University and Faculty committees. In 2011, Trevor was appointed by the Higher Education Funding Council as a member of the Law sub-panel for the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 exercise.

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