Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Relocation Research - first paper now available

In my last post, I published the Executive Summary from my new paper, "Relocation Disputes in England and Wales: First Findings from the 2012 Study". The full paper is now available to download free of charge from the Social Science Research Network.

There are two short points I'd like to make about this paper. The first is that it's a working paper. I wanted to get the first findings out as soon as they were ready because this is an important topic, but there's a lot more work to do. So while all of the statistical analysis that is reported in the paper is correct and final, the overall project isn't finished yet, and there will be more information feeding into the overall analysis and conclusions.

The second point is that this paper does not make any comment about legal policy. A lot of people dislike the English law's approach to relocation disputes and there is a respectable view that it needs to be reformed. Indeed, I have made that argument myself on this blog (see here and here), in my academic writing,* and as part of the legal team who sought to appeal a relocation case to the Supreme Court a year ago. That is an important question that needs to be addressed - but it is not the question that I am addressing in this paper. The first thing to do when considering change is to find out more about what is happening now. This paper is about that - it tells us about what the reality of relocation law is in the courts and lawyers' offices of England and Wales. We can add that information to the debate about what if any change needs to be made, but the research does not by itself answer that question. Consequently, no one should read this paper to find out what I think about law reform, but the fact that I do not talk about that in this paper does not mean that I don't have views on change.

* At the moment, a lot of academic writing is difficult for the general public to obtain. Some of my work is on the SSRN network (see here and here), though not all if it is available without charge (this is a policy of the journals, not of mine); I am happy to provide copies on request.

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