Collaborative Law is an alternative to the traditional negotiation processes by letter or email, or court proceedings. So how does it work?
The main driving principle of Collaborative Law is that the parties should resolve all matters in a series of four-way meetings, which are attended by them and their respective Collaboratively trained lawyers.
Critical to the process is the Participation Agreement that the clients and the lawyers both sign in order to bind them to the process and honour its principles. The most important point of that agreement is that the parties agree to resolve their matter away from court, instead committing to resolve the matter in meeting.
The whole process is founded on the principle of there being a level playing field for all concerned.
Everyone in the process, be that a solicitor or a client, is equal, and all will have a chance to make their point in the meeting. First name terms are used and the parties can choose when and where the four-way meetings take place.
There is complete flexibility and this inevitably means that cases are settled in a far shorter time-frame than if it was being dealt with in the local family court. Sometimes, four-way meetings can extend to become five-way, or even six-way meetings, with the inclusion of accountants, financial advisers or other experts to help resolve the case.
At the forefront of the process is the need to put any children first and ensure that their needs are met and that any welfare issues are addressed.
In each case, the solution is achieved by the clients themselves with the help of the Collaborative lawyers and other experts. At the end of the day, it is not about what the lawyers think, but what the clients want and what they can agree without going to court.
Many thousands of pounds can be saved by using the Collaborative process as a real alternative to attending court and having a judge make a decision on your case.
If you have a family law issue and believe that you could engage with the other party in the same room, then Collaborative Law may well be for you.
Harrison Drury director John Osborne has many years’ experience of dealing with family cases through the Collaborative process and is a well-known public speaker on the subject. He has a reputation both locally and nationally for settling cases in this way and ensuring that the people involved remain on good terms.