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WBH Legal - Areas of Practice

A multi-disciplined law firm in South Australia and Northern Territory offering expertise over a wide range of legal fields

Collaborative Law

Nobody really wins a war so give peace a chance.

Collaborative Law, or Practice, is an emerging way to resolve disputes removing the matter from destructive adversarial courtroom environment; Collaboration aims to trouble shoot and problem solve rather than fight in the gladiatorial litigation arena where the participants are rarely the victors.

Collaborative Practice involves a written commitment by the lawyers and their clients to work together, collaboratively and in good faith, to negotiate a settlement. The lawyers in the process are trained in collaborative negotiation. Ron Bellman is a trained collaborative law practitioner.

Each party in the Collaborative Law process signs a contract which includes requirements for: full disclosure; respect; mutual retention of expert advice to provide information and support through the meetings (e.g. financial advisors, tax experts, psychological counsellors); and, the promise to take a reasoned stand on every issue and to negotiate in good faith.

Most cases settle with huge cost savings to the parties in addition to:

  • Protection of privacy;
  • Reduction in the level of conflict, and pain inflicted, between the parties;
  • Potential for improved relations between the parties in the future;
  • Parties control their own destinies; and
  • Disputes are resolved in weeks or months as opposed to years in Court.

As part of the Collaborative Law process, both parties retain separate lawyers whose job it is to help them settle the dispute. No one may go to Court. If that should occur, the Collaborative Law process terminates and both lawyers are disqualified from any further involvement and the case will be referred to other lawyers to resolve the dispute through litigation in court. The theory behind Collaborative Practice is that the parties and their Collaborative Practice lawyers all have the intention and are motivated to work towards a negotiated resolution.

The Collaborative Law practice emerged out of Family Law and is usually applied in these disputes. However, the principles and practices are generally applicable to all matters as an alternative dispute resolution process. WBH Legal is at the forefront of this innovation.