Asian Legal Business > Collaborative Practice Takes Root In Hong Kong

Posted on September 28, 2013

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From Artemisia Ng:

Collaborative practice, an alternative approach to settling family disputes and divorce cases though out of court settlements, has shown signs of having taken root in Hong Kong.  The Hong Kong Collaborative Practice Group, which has more than 40 family lawyers, barristers, financial advisors and health professionals at its members, is now working on its first case to help an estranged couple resolve their family dispute amicably.

Unlike civil litigation or other adversarial approaches used in formal legal proceedings, collaborative practice allows the parties involved to tailor their proposals and priorities for a settlement.  The process is aided by a team of lawyers, along with financial and health experts.

Disputes resolved through this mechanism are often settled in a timely manner (helps save hefty legal fees), and achieve a higher success rate- about 85 percent of the involved parties across the world have arrived at agreeable settlements, says Nicholas Hemens, a partner at Haldanes and the chairman of the professional body in question.  Hampton, Winter and Glynn’s (HWG) Hong Kong partner Winnie Chow believes collaborative practice has huge potential in Asia, where conciliation rather than confrontation is an ingrained aspect of many Asian cultures.

Many family law firms in Hong Kong such as are supportive of the movement, and have encouraged their solicitors to join the collaborative training to incorporate the new approach in their practices.

However, there are still many hurdles and challenges in following this system of dispute resolution.  John Ah-weng, a Hong Kong barrister, believes the key to success lies in investing the time and dedication to grow a group of cohesive and mutually trusted practitioners who are committed to the promotion of collaborative practice.

“Judicial encouragement and education is important,” he says.  “Once this pocket of professionals turns the tide in the local litigation culture, there is every potential that it would become an equally attractive ADR [alternative dispute resolution] method to mediation; in the right cases, beyond the sphere of family law.”

Read more at Asian Legal Business.

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