The La Trobe Law School warmly congratulates Dr Lola Akin Ojelabi on her recent publication in the International Journal of the Legal Profession, entitled “An access to justice approach to mediation and the construction of positive legal professional identity” (citation pending).
The article explores the notion that research indicates that practising and teaching alternative dispute resolution may reduce the prevalence of mental health issues within the legal profession. The paper builds on these findings by arguing that an approach to mediation focused on access to justice, of which social justice is core, will enhance positive legal professional identity. This approach, which is yet to be trialled, values equality of access and achievement of just outcomes. It does not over-privilege neutrality and self-determination and also values the positive role of law within society.
The paper outlines the nature of an access to justice approach to mediation, and explores how this approach may be challenged by the more traditional and fundamental values of mediation, namely, neutrality and self-determination. In addition, it discusses the approach in light of the provisions of the Australian National Mediator Accreditation System (NMAS) Practice Standards and explores the relationship between the access to justice approach and positive legal professional identity.
Overall, it discusses the importance of an access to justice approach to mediation in legal education and lawyering and explores the relevance of that approach to promoting social justice, wellbeing and positive professional identity.