This thesis is concerned with two discrete but related themes that are of considerable socio-legal significance: South Asian divorce and disputes involving South Asian children. Both themes are explored empirically by means of a qualitative research study conducted in an urban and industrial area of Britain with a high South Asian population. The thesis thus seeks to provide much needed information concerning what are currently two poorly understood social problems. The material is presented in three main sections. The first section provides the wider context to the study including a discussion of the changing face of South Asian social relations and the norms and traditions by which they are governed, together with a description of the values, principles and practices of those charged with the responsibility of dealing with disputes over the arrangements for children. The second section focuses upon the approach taken to the research and presents the empirical findings of the study. This section uses as its basis a series of semi-structured interviews that allow different perspectives on the twin themes to be compared and contrasted. The third and final section draws together the key conclusions of the study and offers an analytical and normative framework with which to understand the material generated. The thesis places a high premium on the historical, institutional and normative dimensions of each of the themes and uses a combination of sociological and legal insights to provide a rounded picture of the nature and range of the problems studied. In so doing, it generates a range of questions that are of crucial relevance for members of South Asian communities and those engaged in research and teaching in the area of race and ethnicity. In addition, the thesis has some important conceptual, moral and practical implications for those practitioners who are involved in the dispute resolution process.

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