This approach to Dispute Resolution is particularly suited to resolving financial issues, or to cases where financial issues and issues relating to children both arise. It provides a client and family-centred forum for reaching a solution which itself, and in the co-operative way in which it is reached, serves the needs of participants who wish to avoid the traditional court “battle”.
The participants and their lawyers agree at the outset that they will not litigate, save to present an order “by consent”. If the process fails without agreement, then the parties must instruct different lawyers to represent them in court.
The process is confidential, but conducted entirely openly and honestly between those involved. There is very little written correspondence. Almost all discussion takes place in meetings involving both the participants and their lawyers. In financial disputes, full disclosure of financial positions is required as it would be in litigation, but all work together to ensure that it is fully understood. There is no “point-scoring”. Where outside expert help of any sort is required, it can be called upon from experts also trained in, and committed to, the collaborative process.
Meetings take place at the clients’ pace and as often as necessary to achieve a full agreement of all issues arising out of the family breakdown. Well over 90% of cases that are dealt with through collaborative process result in such an agreement. The agreement is then put before a judge in proceedings commenced for that purpose only, and the agreed result formalised in a court order.
1kbw has a team of 9 fully-qualified collaborative counsel, including 5 Queen’s Counsel.