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Dunn & Baker Solicitors are pleased to be able to offer an additional service of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). There is an increasing sense of expectation and in some instances requirement by the courts to encourage parties, whether they are former partners or business contacts, to explore a solution to the dispute in question by utilising ADR. We are able to offer mediation and also Collaborative Family Law as two independent processes to assist discussion, reduce impasse and increase the prospects of reaching an agreement that both parties can, at least, live with and move forward. ADR can help to reduce both the financial and emotional cost of disputes, particularly where a family situation is being considered. These problem solving alternatives can enable the parties to set their own priorities and agenda whilst concentrating on a solution focussed outcome.

It is now necessary for parties to potential court proceedings to meaningfully consider the prospect of ADR before having permission to begin court proceedings. ADR must, at least, be offered to the intended recipient of any proposed proceedings as there can be adverse cost implications ordered by the court in the event that this step is ignored or not given sufficient consideration.

What is Mediation?

Mediation offers a neutral, safe and controlled environment in which options and solutions can be discussed away from the threat of the court arena in which the mediator helps to generate discussion and keep the participants focused on the issues at hand. Mediation is a means of resolving a dispute either before or after court proceedings are underway. The participants use a mediator as a means of facilitating and assisting those involved in reaching an agreement which they have reached themselves rather than having a court make a determination that often results in at least one party being disappointed.

The mediation and collaborative processes usually allow the parties to set their own pace and agenda to work towards a solution they can live with in the future. Any consensus can then be underpinned in a binding legal document to give effect to the agreement reached.

What is Collaborative Family Law?

Collaborative Family Law aims to resolve divorce and separation issues in as low key and dignified manner as possible. The process involves increased cooperation or collaboration between the couple themselves and also their specially trained lawyers. There is an increased sense of working as a team to help achieve goals that are mutually important to the couple concerned.

Within the Collaborative Family Law process, couples each retain separate lawyers but also have the benefit of their individual advice. There is more focus on face-to-face meetings and discussion. It is also possible to bring in the expertise of other professionals to assist the chances of reaching an agreement such as counsellors, therapists and accountants. At the very heart of Collaborative Family Law is the agreement that whilst the process is continuing neither party will involve the Court.

Within the Collaborative Family Law process there is a focus on the needs of the children as it is always hoped that once this aspect is discussed and resolved it will assist in easing the overall negotiation process and increase the chances of a solution.

By agreeing not to involve the Court this enables couples to create a more relaxed environment which will assist in keeping the channels of communication open and ultimately will help to increase the chances of an early settlement. When looking at the financial aspects it is mutually understood that the couples will each receive speedy full and frank disclosure of all information to enable them to enter into negotiations. This focus on basic financial transparency means that agreements can be reached with added certainty.

Contact Us

We offer a FREE initial consultation for all new clients. In addition, we are also able to provide public funding (legal aid) to those clients who are eligible or alternatively discuss our fee structure openly. For further information or to speak with a member of our team to discuss how they can help you.


Team members

Darren Cleverdon
Partner / Solicitor / Head of Family Department
Emma Benyon-Tinker
Associate Solicitor

Have a question or need some help? Call us today on 01392 285000