Dec 2013

Collaborative Law Process

Five Haldanes lawyers are now members of the Hong Kong Collaborative Practice Group. Whilst the solicitors (Geoffrey Booth, Elsie Liu, Nicholas Hemens, Lucia Hui and Patricia Liu) are all involved in work in the Matrimonial Department, collaborative practice can also extend to civil litigation disputes.

In this process, what happens is that the clients sign a retainer letter with their lawyer, in which the lawyers’ instructions are to assist the clients in reaching a settlement with each other. Each party has the same arrangement with their solicitors. It is one of the elements of Collaborative Practice, that the parties transparently discuss and work towards a settlement, and legal advice can be discussed openly by the lawyers in joint meetings. The process and meetings are conducted on a without prejudice basis, so that no matters discussed in the meetings, and no material exchanged or information provided, can be utilised in any proceedings without agreement. This encourages transparency and frankness from the lawyers and the parties, in attempting to reach a settlement.

In the event that a settlement can not be reached, the lawyers for the parties are not allowed to represent them in any subsequent litigation. Because the lawyers and the parties efforts are focused towards a settlement, and they are conscious that they are working with each other towards that end, collaborative process has a very high success rate, and it is estimated that as many as 90% of disputes settle when this process is adopted. For any further information, please contact any of our Collaborative Practitioners.