We identify our clients’ needs and tailor our work to each set of circumstances, providing high quality, cost effective advice. We are a multi-disciplinary practice and work collaboratively to provide a comprehensive service across all of our practice areas.
The breakdown of a relationship can have a devastating effect on the parties concerned and their families. This can be made worse if expensive and bitterly-fought court proceedings follow, forcing the parties even further apart.
The most successful outcomes are often reached without the adversarial requirements of the Law Courts. Each of the non-court processes mentioned here will keep the parties in control of how their disputes are settled. They are conducted in complete privacy and confidentiality, at venues and at times of the parties’ choosing.
We have a team of senior specialist lawyers, all partners in our department, qualified to work as mediators and collaborative lawyers. We cover all issues, of which disputes about finances and children are the most common. We also offer arbitration.
In mediation, both parties agree on the choice of a neutral mediator. The mediator’s role is to facilitate the discussions between the parties themselves, exploring options and taking account of individually important factors. This allows the parties to craft arrangements that are right for them whereas a court can only make a narrow range of orders which it imposes but which neither party might choose. By definition, mediation is constructive. The mediator cannot advise but is there to help, using their own background in family law. The couple make their own decisions, taking legal advice from their own lawyers where needed.
Collaborative law is a process by which the parties, together with their own solicitors (who must be qualified to undertake this sort of work), engage in a series of face-to-face meetings, to discuss their needs and their objectives with the aim of finding a tailor-made and mutually acceptable solution.
Arbitration mirrors the court system. With the agreement of the arbitrator, standard processes and procedures can be varied to suit the parties. Lawyers are involved in the same way as they would be in court. The arbitrator can deal with discrete issues or the whole of a dispute. The end result is an arbitration award (ruling) which is binding. The law applied is that of England and Wales.
Head of department Henry Hood is a member of the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators (IFLA), fully qualified to conduct arbitrations. Henry and Jo Carr-West are accredited mediators with the Family Mediation Council and are able to conduct mediation information and assessment meetings (MIAMs) for court use, whilst Nicole Derham is a qualified mediator. Henry and Richard Kershaw are also qualified Collaborative lawyers.