What is the collaborative process? Do you know if it has any application to your legal practice? This new process option was developed by a Canadian lawyer, Stuart Webb in 1990. He was convinced that traditional litigation exacerbated rather than resolved the conﬂicts that divorcing clients faced.
This led to the birth of the collaborative law movement which has become accepted internationally in North and South America, Australasia, Europe, and is gaining a foothold in Asia. Thousands of collaborative professionals are registered with the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (“IACP”) (Website: www.collaborativepractice.com). Once you are trained in the collaborative process, you will view family disputes with new lenses.
Collaborative practice is a client-centred process that uses communication, deep listening, goal-setting, interest-based negotiation and transparency to resolve conﬂicts. The process makes it easier for the parties to cooperate in the future, is child-centred and results in longer-lasting arrangements. In this process, collaborative practitioners have a heightened sensitivity to the adverse eﬀects of parental conﬂict and its long-term negative impact on the children. They guide clients to self-determination, help them develop mature choices, shape goals and to learn how to work together in the future.
Collaborative lawyers are present at meetings to provide support to the process and assist in the identiﬁcation of options. Families may also have recourse to ﬁnancial neutrals, family therapists or child specialists to assist them. The parties also agree that if the collaborative process is not successful, the lawyers who represented the parties will not represent them in the litigation. This allows the participants to focus on their negotiations.
The ending of a marriage is personal and how we end it is very important as it sets the tone for that family’s future. As collaborative practitioners, the way lawyers gauge success is not the “WIN” at the end of the trial but in the ability of the parents to work together in the future, to equip the family with the skill sets to resolve conﬂicts on their own. This is the true litmus test of success for a collaborative family practitioner.
Members of the Bar, pupils in chambers and law students:
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RM100 any three webinars
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*Pay for six and get one free webinar
Goh Siu Lin is a partner of Kee Sern, Siu & Huey with a special interest in contentious probate, family law and child issues. Siu Lin is a trained collaborative law professional and a member of the Asia Taskforce of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (“IACP”). She is committed to supporting families as they navigate separation to resolve their conﬂicts respectfully and with dignity. She assists them to focus on their future needs and goals whilst retaining control over the outcome, prioritising the children’s interest during the transition from pre- to post-divorce. The collaborative law method empowers families to rewrite their own family’s story with positivity and peace — assisted by legal, mental and ﬁnancial neutrals.
Siu Lin is the former Chairperson of the Bar Council Family Law Committee, former Chairman of the Kuala Lumpur Bar Committee, and past President of the Association of Women Lawyers. She has provided expert evidence on Malaysian probate, adoption and family law used in courts of jurisdictions such as Hong Kong, France and the United Kingdom.
Rajashree Suppiah has an LLB degree from the University of London, and has been in practice since 1997. As an experienced litigator, she has been involved in many areas of practice including contentious matrimonial matters and cross-borders custody disputes. She serves on the Bar Family Law Committee and is a trainer for the Bar Council Advocacy Training Course. She is a trained collaborative professional who is keen to encourage collaborative practice as an alternative dispute resolution option in family matters. She is also member of IACP, an international community of legal, mental health and ﬁnancial professionals working in concert to create client-centred processes for resolving conﬂict. Currently, she also serves on the Diversity Equality and Inclusion Committee of the IACP.
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