Collaborative law is a new concept in family law and involves both parties signing an agreement to resolve their divorce face to face and without going to Court. If either party breaks this agreement and decides that they want the Courts to decide how assets are split and who has custody of any children etc. both parties have to instruct a new Lawyer and begin the divorce proceedings from scratch.
Collaborative law often leads to better relations between ex-spouses, is better for children and leads to a prompt resolution. It also avoids going to Court which is a costly process.
Mediation is often used to resolve civil disputes and is very much recommended by the Courts. All too often a Judge hearing a case management conference or hearing prior to the final trial will tell both parties to try to settle the matter without a final hearing where the Court decide the outcome. Sometimes the parties will take the Judge’s advice and try mediation so as to avoid a final hearing.
Mediation is arguably the collaborative law of civil disputes and can lead to a resolution or settlement far earlier than a Court hearing would happen. I have represented clients at many mediation hearings and have used many well qualified and neutral mediators who genuinely want to see the matter settle. For this reason the mediator will research the facts of the case thoroughly so that they can talk all of the issues through with both parties.
Most civil disputes are suitable for mediation and if you think that your case may be suitable for mediation do ask your Solicitor. Ultimately, where a horse is the subject of a case and it is in limbo due to the case taking many months to get to the final Court hearing, it is far more beneficial for the horse for the matter to be mediated, as settlement will be quicker. Mediation may not of course lead to resolution, however the Court proceedings can run alongside the mediation process, so that the Court process is not held up in any way.