Rebecca Murphy has been awarded the Irish Research Council (IRC) Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship 2017. The presentation was made by Professor Philip Nolan, President of Maynooth University, on Thursday the 26th October 2017 in the foyer of the Iontas Building.
At the presentation, Ms. Murphy was also awarded a prize for coming second place in the Research Week Three Minute Thesis Competition.
Rebecca Murphy, PhD student, is currently travelling around the United States of America and Canada to determine whether child protection mediation can be seen as a viable alternative to adversarial hearing in Ireland. Ms. Murphy represented the Law Department of Maynooth University at the Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario (FDRIO) Conference, co-hosted by Family Mediation Canada, in Toronto from November 20-21, 2017. The conference included several speakers familiar with the intricacies of the justice system and family law. One of the main concerns throughout the conference was that couples going through separation or dispute resolution need help from the court system. However, the current court system in Canada is too expensive and clogged with trials and complicated forms/paperwork. The keynote speaker, Justice David Steinberg, recommends that counsel advise their clients from the very start to attempt to settle their cases outside the court system. He stated that “cases presently take too long and it’s too costly. But even if all the changes are made in the court system, there are many other ways of resolving a case that are still available. One of those, of course, is mediation. Mediation is a way for most persons to escape the litigation process.”
The second day of the conference included detailed workshops on mediation and alternative dispute resolutions available across Canada. One of the workshops that Ms. Murphy attended was on Child Protection Mediation presented by Ms. Cotie and Ms. Damianakis. The workshop gave a brief synopsis of child protection mediation in Canada and delved into why, when and how child protection mediation is used and applied. According to Ms. Cotie, “Child Protection Mediation is seen as a really effective and appropriate approach for the families and the children. The court process is so adversarial, families can often see social workers as intrusive and there is a lot of stress. There are so many advantages to child protection mediation.”