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12 October 2022 | Comment | Article by Adrienne Donneky

Family Law language project shortlisted to win a Family Law Award 2022

A project to help make family law easier to understand has been shortlisted for the Community Commentator award in this year’s Family Law Awards. The winner will be voted for by members of the Family Law community.

The Family Law Language Project seeks to take confusion and added stress out of the family law process, by highlighting outdated, offensive, and hostile terms, while encouraging the use of accessible language which focuses on the welfare of children and the family involved.

Launched in November 2021, the project is spearheaded by 8 leading family law solicitors, including Belinda Moseley, an Associate in our Family Law department.

Belinda is the Wales-based committee member and spoke to us about the work of the Family Law Project (FLLP) and the nomination:

“The aim of the FLLP is to help make the family justice system more understandable, more accessible, and less adversarial through encouraging the use of appropriate language – by promoting the use of the correct terms – such as “child arrangements” in place of “custody” or “residence” and “contact” – and through promoting useful and helpful language.”

We aim to do this by getting involved in various activities, whether it’s via social media or in-person promotions. We also try to behave in the way we are encouraging others to, through reducing the use of inflammatory or overly complicated language in our own correspondence with other solicitors, our clients, or unrepresented parties in cases.

Language is important. The Family arena should not be the place where hostilities are encouraged, but rather where the professionals involved do their very best to promote active and cooperative resolutions wherever possible. Not only will that make for happier clients, when they are not in the middle of a legal “battle” but it will keep their legal costs lower, allow for more out of court solutions and, most importantly, allow children to see their family members being polite and respectful in all their dealings with one another. Lawyers who entertain themselves by ratcheting up the animosity thinking they are “fighting” on their clients’ behalf rarely help their clients overall.

As a long-term member of Resolution, and particularly in my latest role as Chair of the South Wales Committee for Resolution, the language of family law has long been something of interest to me. I try to include this in my daily work to support my clients but also, and especially, to indirectly support the children caught up in their parents’ separation or differences of opinion.

If we can encourage one family to use less confrontational means to resolve their differences, then that means the committee’s mission has been achieved.  Hopefully we can make an even wider impact time goes on.

If you are a member of the Family Law community, the deadline to place your vote is midday on Friday 14 October 2022.

Author bio

Adrienne Donneky is Senior Associate and heads up the family team. Adrienne is a highly experienced solicitor having practised in the area of family law for over 20 years. She advises individuals on a wide range of family matters including divorce and disputes between parents in relation to their children.  Adrienne has particular expertise in cases concerning the resolution of financial issues on divorce and between unmarried couples on separation.
Adrienne Donneky

Adrienne Donneky

Senior Associate
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Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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