In an interview yesterday, Prof. Bala said that parental alienation cases should be streamlined out of the court system as rapidly as possible and given to individual judges to "case-manage," a system in which a single judge handles a case all the way through the courts.
He said this would allow the judges to learn their cases' nuances and press for resolution.
"The increase in court cases is dramatic, and they do take up a lot of court time," he said. "A family may appear in front of 10 different judges before they get to a trial, and each judge starts afresh. If you are dealing with people who are manipulative, they can drag it out."
"It is important for the justice system to take an early and firm response to alienation cases," his study concluded.
"Alienation cases can change over time from mild to more severe. Early intervention is more likely to be successful."
The study also urged the justice system to enforce access orders more rigorously for the sake of its own credibility.
It said that the relatively lax enforcement of access - an issue that primarily affects fathers - contrasts sharply with zero tolerance policies in domestic abuse cases and enhanced enforcement of child and spousal support orders.
The juxtaposition can convince fathers that the system is biased against them, Prof. Bala said.
"Just as feminists have some very important and valid criticisms of the family justice system, so do fathers' rights advocates," he said.
The study also took issue with the much-publicized concept of Parental Alienation Syndrome, arguing that it is neither a recognized syndrome nor a useful description of what is actually a complicated set of behaviours.