Australian Family Law and Islamic Dispute Resolution Processes 

Background

The Australian Family Law and Islamic Dispute Resolution Processes Project is being carried out by a team of researchers from Melbourne University and the University of Sydney, with funding from the Australian Research Council. The researchers conducting the project are Professor Carolyn Evans, Professor Helen and Rhoades Dr Farrah Ahmed from the Melbourne Law School, and Dr Ghena Krayem from the Faculty of Law at the University of Sydney.

Recent years have seen growing public interest in the informal community processes that Muslims access when dealing with family law matters such as divorce, and how these processes intersect with Australian family law. The question of whether the Australian legal system should recognise Islamic family law processes has attracted increasing debate, reflecting similar debates in other countries. Sometimes it is said that Islamic dispute resolution processes have no place in the Australian legal system, while others have raised concerns for Muslim women associated with these processes. Often these views are based on assumptions rather than evidence. At present, little is known about the impact of these processes, or about the experiences of Muslim men and women who use them.

The Australian Family Law and Islamic Dispute Resolution Processes project aims to address this gap by providing the first evidence-based understanding of the experiences of Muslim women and men who have used a community process to resolve their family law dispute in Australia, along with information about the experiences of professionals who assist them.

We are inviting a range of professionals from the Muslim community and the Australian family law system, along with Muslim men and women in Melbourne and Sydney, to contribute to this research project. 

 

What will participation in the project involve?

Your participation in the project will involve a confidential recorded interview with Dr Ghena Krayem, who will be assisted by either Ms Tamana Daqiq or Dr Helen McCue from the project’s research team. The interview will be a place and time that is convenient for you. 

If you are a professional working in the Muslim community sector or the Australian family law system, we are interested in hearing about your professional views and experiences of assisting Muslim clients in family law matters. If you are a Muslim man or woman who has used a community dispute resolution process and/or the services of the Australian family law system, we are interested in hearing about your views and experiences of using these services. Please note that you will not be asked about the personal details of your family law matter. 

The estimated time commitment for the interview is approximately 60-90 minutes, depending on whether there is a need for an interpreter. This includes time for the interview and to answer any questions you may have for the researchers. An interpreter will be available for participants who are not fluent in English.


How will my privacy be protected?

The interview will be recorded with your permission and then transcribed. You will be asked to sign a Consent Form prior to the commencement of the interview. All possible steps will be taken to protect your privacy, such as removing any features that might link it to you before it is published, subject to legal requirements. Any references to information provided will be identified in reports of the project by a coded reference only (for example, ‘Interviewee AB’). 


Can I withdraw from involvement in the project if I later change my mind?

Your participation in the project is completely voluntary. You may withdraw from the project at any stage, and may withdraw any information you provide during the interview at any time before the data analysis is completed.


How will I receive feedback about the project?

The researchers will prepare a report of the project’s findings that will be made freely available on this website.


Where can I get further information about the project?

If you would like to know more about the project you can contact us at info@ausmuslimfamlawproject.com. Please note that the project has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee at the University of Melbourne. If you have any concerns about the conduct of the project, you are welcome to contact the Executive Officer, Human Research Ethics, The University of Melbourne, on ph: 8344 2073, or fax: 9347 6739.


How can I help?

If you are interested in participating in this project, you can register your interest by 15 March 2016 on the following secure form below or by contacting Dr Ghena Krayem at info@ausmuslimfamlawproject.com or by telephone on 0490 355 320.


Register

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Project Update

We have completed the interview phase of the project.