Collaborative law
Produced in partnership with Suzanne Kingston of Mills & Reeve LLP
Collaborative law

The following Family guidance note Produced in partnership with Suzanne Kingston of Mills & Reeve LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Collaborative law
  • Features
  • Suitable cases
  • Role of collaborative solicitors
  • Stages of collaborative work
  • Final four-way meeting
  • Glossary

Features

The collaborative process involves the instruction by each party of a collaborative lawyer and the entering into of a collaborative participation agreement. There are no adversarial court proceedings. The parties sign a disqualification clause indicating that if they are unable to agree matters and issue proceedings, they will dispense with the services of their current lawyers and instruct new lawyers. In addition:

  1. the collaborative agreement confirms that the parties will negotiate in good faith and in a transparent and open way

  2. the issues are often resolved in face-to-face meetings (called a four-way meeting) with both the parties and their solicitors present

  3. correspondence will generally be kept to a minimum

The collaborative process is a general holistic approach where the parties and their lawyers may also work with other professionals who are also collaboratively trained eg a financial neutral adviser, in a five-way meeting.

For further information, see:

Family Law Service > Alternative Dispute Resolution > 6A Narrative > Chapter 1 Mediation and collaborative practice > C Collaborative law > Considering collaborative law, paras [318]–[322]

Suitable cases

In a case suitable for the collaborative process the parties will:

  1. understand the general process options through litigation, mediation and arbitration

  2. positively choose the collaborative process by making an informed decision

  3. not be too positional

  4. understand that they need to keep an open