Collaborative law: the future cornerstone of the resolution process?
Judicial Studies Institute
Collaborative law was developed originally in the United States, (1) and more recently has received significant support from Irish family law practitioners. In essence its ultimate aim is not particularly novel – it seeks to encourage and facilitate the resolution of family law disputes without recourse to the adversarial courts system. (2) Recent court-based research has confirmed the long-held view that it is the exception rather than the rule that a family law dispute will reach the courtroom. (3) What is different about the practice of collaborative law is that the resolution of the dispute becomes the primary, if not the sole aim, of both parties who sign up to an “agreement to agree” the details of the dissolution. Perhaps just as importantly, collaborative lawyers are parties to this non-adversarial approach to the dispute, and commit to relinquish their involvement in the case in the event that the parties eventually proceed to court hearing. In terms of approach and effect, the practice of collaborative law sits somewhere in the middle of the family law dispute-resolution continuum, with mediation at one extreme end and court-based judicial adjudication at the other. Undoubtedly, the practice of collaborative law incorporates aspects of both approaches; in essence it can be regarded as the organised and focussed practice of dissolution-negotiation in the shadow of the law. This commentary seeks to identify the role of collaborative law within the context of family law dispute resolution, and in this regard will consider the related issues of state intervention in the family sphere, and the role and importance of the governing laws which serve as a backdrop to the collaborative law process.
Collaborative law , Irish family law , Marital dispute resolution , Negotiation
Crowley, L. (2009) 'Collaborative Law: The Future Cornerstone of the Resolution process?', Judicial Studies Institute Journal, 01, pp. 19-29.
© 2009 Judicial Studies Institute