Settlement conferences originated in Canada as an innovative and less adversarial model for reaching decisions in public and private family law cases. The approach was piloted by the judiciary in several family courts in England and Wales from June 2016. This pilot was subject to a process evaluation to understand how the model worked in practice from the perspective of the family justice professionals involved.
The report presents the findings from 33 qualitative interviews with a range of professional participants including family judges, legal representatives, Cafcass guardians and social workers. Data was also collected by judges for each settlement conference that took place during the two-year evaluation period between June 2016 and June 2018.