Frances Richards, BComm, LLM is the Principal of Frances Richards & Associates and an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Notre Dame, Sydney Campus.
Frances is a solicitor and mediator specialising in dispute resolution in environmental planning law. She also teaches legal research and writing and is enrolled in the Graduate Certificate of University Teaching (GCUT) course at the University of Notre Dame Australia .
Frances first became interested in alternative dispute resolution when, after representing clients in the courts for many years, she attended a mediation course run by IAMA (now the Resolution Institute). The potential of mediation for conflicts involving neighbours and local government was immediately apparent to her.
Frances researches the use of mediation by local government, particularly conflicts between neighbours. In 2015 Frances brought her work in progress to the ADR Research Network Roundtable titled “Alternative Dispute Resolution(ADR): Opportunities for Councils“. She is soon to publish an article in the (2016) 21(2) Local Government Law Journal. Frances said about her experience at the ADR Research Network Forum:
I attended the ADR Research Network Roundtable in 2015 and was impressed by the knowledge of the other attendees and the collaborative and supportive nature of the Roundtable. I encourage other researchers to consider attending.
(In case you have missed it, we are currently calling for proposals for our 2016 forum).
Frances is currently researching the potential for the application of ADR to disputes over unpaid rates. She is encouraged by the research by Tania Sourdin into the use of ADR by the Australian Tax Office in disputes over taxes.
Sourdin, T. “Evaluating Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in Disputes about Taxation” (2015) 34 (1) The Arbitrator and Mediator p19.
The research by Elize G Ufkes, Ellen Giebels, Sabine Offen and Karen Van der Zee into the effectiveness of mediation in neighbour to neighbour conflicts has also influenced Frances. She would like to apply their research methodology to neighbour conflicts in Australia.
Elize G Ufkes, Ellen Giebels, Sabine Offen, Karen Van der Zee “The effectiveness of a mediation program in symmetrical versus asymmetrical neighbour to neighbour conflicts” (2011) 23(4), International Journal of Conflict Management pp440 -457.
Frances sees potential for educating the community about alternative dispute resolution and for the use of technology in dispute resolution in the community. She would like to explore research in these areas in the future.