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Report to detail future collaboration

Briefs

Cite as: (2006) 80(12) LIJ, p. 14


Collaborative law practices have received endorsement from federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock.

At the recent 12th National Family Law Conference, Mr Ruddock encouraged the legal profession to embrace new initiatives such as collaborative law.

“Although it should not be seen as a substitute for mediation – or as a way of re-legalising the system – collaborative law is certainly an option for those who may otherwise have entered the courts,” he said in his speech to conference attendees in Perth on 23 October.

“I understand international empirical research has found collaborative law to be extraordinarily successful in achieving settlements.

“Early indications suggest this may be mirrored here.”

Mr Ruddock said he had asked the Family Law Council, in consultation with the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia (LCA) and other bodies, to advise how the government, in partnership with the legal profession, could assist in promoting collaborative law in Australia.

Mr Ruddock said a report was being finalised and he expected to receive it in the near future.

Law Institute of Victoria president and keen collaborative law exponent Cathy Gale was eagerly awaiting the report.

“Once Mr Ruddock has received the report he will be in a position to make an announcement on the future direction of collaborative law in Australia.”

Ms Gale said the Family Law Council had established a Collaborative Law Committee, chaired by Professor Patrick Parkinson.

The Committee had previously contacted the LCA to ask if it would oversee the development of collaborative law in Australia, and that body had agreed in principle to take on that role.

Ms Gale said once Mr Ruddock had looked at the report and made his recommendations, it was likely the LCA would set up a committee to oversee the implementation of collaborative law.

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