The development of collaborative law in Australia has taken another step with the launch of the Australian Collaborative Practice Guidelines for Lawyers at Parliament House this week.
Launched last night (27 March) by Attorney-General Robert McClelland, the guidelines were developed by the Law Council of Australia (LCA) and its Collaborative Practice Committee, whose membership includes legal practitioners, academics and collaborative professionals throughout Australia.
"Collaborative practice is a process of dispute resolution that assists clients to reach solutions without the need to go to court," said LCA president Alexander Ward.
"It has a particularly high success rate in resolving disputes with studies in Canada and the United States showing settlement rates of over 95 per cent and anecdotal evidence indicating similar success rates in Australia."
According to the chair of the LCA's Collaborative Practice Committee, Catherine Gale, the guidelines will govern the relationship of collaborative practitioners with their clients and all participants in the collaborative process.
"Lawyers will be able to use the guidelines as a tool to provide direction and advice, building upon skills learnt in their training," Gale said. "This is useful for lawyers now and in the future, particularly for new collaborative practitioners."
Gale added that consultation on the guidelines will continue throughout their implementation and a review will take place in approximately two years, including extensive input from the legal community.