Collaborative Law: An Overview

23rd June 2017

There is nothing radical about this relatively new approach to resolving family law disputes. Simply put, Collaborative Law is a cooperative approach taken by lawyers, clients and if necessary other professionals. Everyone working together towards resolving the problems through a ‘round table approach’ rather than going to Court.

Sound a lot like mediation?

Similar to mediation all negotiations are ‘without prejudice’ meaning they cannot be used at a later stage against the parties.

However, the Collaborative Law approach is very unique. All parties, including the lawyers, sign a Collaboration Contract. This document states that collaborative strategies will be used to reach acceptable settlements. If discussions break down and the matter proceeds to Court, the lawyers and their law firms must withdraw from acting for their client. So there is no incentive for lawyers to needlessly push the matter to Court.

This ensures all clients and lawyers are totally committed to 2 aims:

1. to reach a settlement result without going through the costly and emotionally draining Court process; and
2. to focus on the underlying interests of both parties and work towards resolving those needs together.

Collaborative law may not suit every client, particularly those who:

• Want revenge, ‘justice’ or ‘to win’;
• Try to hide information about their financial position;
• Have a history of domestic violence or a power imbalance in the relationship.

Collaborative law is ideal for clients who want to:

• Remove the threat of litigation;
• Aim to achieve results that meet the needs of both parties and their children;
• Encourage a relationship of trust for their future parenting;
• Use the expertise of independent experts including child specialists and financial advisers out of the Court system;
• Reduce the time that lawyers spend in correspondence to each other.

Nikolai Koolik is a trained collaborative lawyer. As such he is passionate about alternative dispute resolution and out of Court settlements. If you wish to discuss the Collaborative process in more detail and see if it suits your situation, please contact us.

Please note the content of this post is information only and not legal advice.  If you require legal advice it is best to contact one of our lawyers who can review your particular circumstances and then provide tailored advice according to your needs.

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