The Supreme Court website has posted a short speech given by Supreme Court Justice (and last Law Lord), Lord Kerr, to the London Collaborative Umbrella Group

In the speech, Lord Kerr commends the collaberative law approach which requires parties to contract out of litigation and pursue a non-aggressive approach to settling their differences.  He notes the extraordinary growth in the area over the past six years, with only four practitioners in 2003 rising to over 1,400 today.

 He also addresses whether the collaberative law approach could be used in disputes other than family matters.  He says:

“The glib answer is, of course, “Well, why not?” But I think that a rather more thoughtful response is due, although I do not feel wholly confident in expressing it. The vast preponderance of collaborative law cases takes place in the family law sphere and the clear suitability of many cases in that field to collaborative treatment is so obvious as to require no disquisition on my part. And, as the President of the Family Division observed in addressing the London Launch Event some years ago, one can see scope for its introduction to some types of commercial dispute. Whether it could successfully translate to other forms of litigation such as public law is somewhat more imponderable. But that circumstance should not be a reason to place pre-emptive barriers to the possible extension of this laudable initiative to other fields beyond that of family law. Provided we have a clear-sighted view of the possible implications to which I have earlier alluded, I cannot conceive of any reason that it should not be at least tried in other areas.”

Whether this reflects enthusiam for alternative forms of dispute resolution across the other Justices, remains to be seen.

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