Based on observations of court trials and extensive interviews with judges, this article explores how judicial mediation in China undermines the rights of the battered women in divorce cases. We find that even if the judges are able to establish that domestic violence is committed, it is often erased in the stage of judicial mediation. This is because judicial mediation inevitably focuses on settlement arrangements. Lingering reference to domestic abuse would simply invite new denials or refutations from the abuser. It thus risks ruining the mediation efforts made by the judge. Our findings raise important questions with regard to the compulsory practice of mediation in family cases in China. It also sheds light on the hidden problems created by judicial mediation or conciliation in general.
He & Ng. Int J Law Policy Family. (2013) doi: 10.1093/lawfam/ebs014.