A solution without intervention of the courts

A solution without intervention of the courts

A conflict is very rarely limited to a solely legal or financial argument. Every conflict, whether this is a commercial dispute, a labour dispute or a private matter, is emotionally charged. This has a serious impact on the process and therefore the outcome. 'Talking about it' might not seem to be the best advice in the heat of the moment.

However, consultation, with the right assistance and without the intervention of the courts, can be the best solution. This is called collaborative practice. Collaborative practice can be distinguished from mediation in the sense that each party has his/her own lawyer who will take care of his or her interests and who knows what is permitted by law. Furthermore, the parties agree with each other not to go to court. Conflicts that are dealt with by collaborative practice are generally resolved faster and more satisfactorily than through court proceedings. There are often also cheaper.

It has long been acknowledged abroad that collaborative practice is a suitable solution for many conflicts. Collaborative practice is suitable inter alia for divorces, arguments regarding inheritance, shareholders’ conflicts and labour disputes.

Find your collaborative practice professional

f you want to find a collaborative practice professional in your region, please use the search function below.

VvCP member register

Find your collaborative practice professional
Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

Do you have any questions about collaborative practice? Please consult the list of frequently asked questions below. Is your question not listed? Then do not hesitate to contact us for further information.

How does collaborative practice work?

Meetings will be held with a team consisting of both partners, lawyers and experts, during which time information will be exchanged. During these meetings you can express your needs and expectations. This method is clear, transparent and reasonable. It is important that all lines of communication stay open: the only way to resolve problem areas is to discuss them.

Will collaborative practice also work if one of the parties is still very angry?

Yes, because there is a coach and because there are individual lawyers who are all trained as mediators. The partner’s anger will be heard, seen and accepted, and this means these emotions will form less of a barrier when searching for solutions Emotions such as anger, sadness, powerlessness and feelings of uncertainty will be discussed in the preliminary process so that the actual consultation will be less emotionally charged.

What if there are still matters left unresolved?

There is a small chance of this happening, because everyone at the table will be trying to prevent that. Court proceedings take much more time, money and an emotional toll; nobody wants that. In the unlikely event that a solution is still not found, mediation is no longer an option either. In that case, all parties withdraw, including the lawyers. The parties in conflict must then start from the beginning with the process of court proceedings.

Can I bring along my personal financial adviser or coach?

No. The collaborative practice team consists of professionals who have been specifically trained for this, who know the process and want to achieve the best result for both parties. Unless your adviser or coach is a recognised collaborative practice professional and is also accepted by the party that you are in conflict with, it will be impossible to include these persons in the collaborative practice team. Moreover, the relationship with the professionals will end once the solution has been found. Therefore, after the divorce you will no longer be able to engage the lawyer, the coach or the financial adviser who has assisted you during the collaborative practice.

Is collaborative practice much more expensive than mediation?

Simple conflicts with equal parties or a minor interest can usually be resolved through mediation and our professionals will also always advise this. However, if during the mediation process expert assistance is required, the costs will quickly rise to the level of costs of a collaborative divorce. In a collaborative practice, the experts are involved from the beginning and they do not have to be informed of the progress of the process at a later time. This saves time and therefore money. Another advantage is that everyone can respond at an early stage to matters that crop up, as a result of which things do not escalate unnecessarily.

The coach, who is the independent chairperson of the 'collaborative practice team', will make sure that emotions that could prevent a successful solution by means of mediation are addressed in a timely manner.

In addition, collaborative practice is also suitable for people who feel that one mediator cannot properly represent both parties whereas with collaborative practice each of the parties has their own lawyer present at the table.

The origin of Collaborative Practice

Stu Webb grondlegger van de Collaborative Practice

In the beginning there was Stu

The story of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals starts with the founder of the Collaborative movement: Stu Webb, from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Stu had been practising traditional family law for more than twenty years when, at the end of the late 1980s, he became interested in mediation and alternative dispute resolutions. Stu's challenge was to find a way to bring the special talent of lawyers as problem solvers into a process of "agreement/consultation" for family law. Stu envisaged a model whereby lawyers could not go to court under any circumstance whatsoever. If the option of going to court was absent in a dispute, lawyers would have no other choice but to address the challenge of solving a problem by agreement.

The Collaborative Practice was set up from this understanding. In 1990, Stu informed his clients and colleagues that he would no longer go to court; he would only continue to represent clients in a collaborative negotiation process, exclusively focused on creative solutions. If the process did not result in an agreement between the parties, Stu would refer his clients to another lawyer to have the dispute adjudicated in the traditional manner and he would then withdraw from the process.

This is the origin of the collaborative divorce and collaborative practice. Since 2008, we have also embraced this in the Netherlands. We now call this collaborative divorce and collaborative practice. The exclusion of going to court is essential in this respect. We are thankful to Stu Webb for initiating this movement.