You may well have heard a member of Resolution commenting on an issue of family law in the popular media. This comes as no great surprise as Resolution are regularly invited to comment in the press, on the radio and television as well as maintaining a significant presence in the social media but who or what is Resolution?
Back in 1982 a small group of lawyers headed by John Cornwall met together to discuss their concerns regarding the practice of family law and how improvements could be made. Why was this so important?
At that time family law was not a specialist field of law but was a branch of civil litigation. Cases were often pursued in an aggressive fashion with little or no regard for the impact on family relationships resulting in substantial costs and delay often compounding feelings of animosity between the parties.
On the back of the meeting the Solicitors Family Law Association (SFLA) was formed.
A Code of Practice was drafted which encouraged lawyers dealing with family law cases to adopt a constructive and non-confrontational approach.
In 2005 the SFLA was renamed Resolution with the Code remaining central to its core principles.
In 2016 the Code was renewed and its opening statement captures the essence of what Resolution is all about – “Resolution is a community of family justice professionals who work with families and individuals to resolve issues in a constructive way”. A public facing version of the Code also was produced explaining why choosing a Resolution member can help individuals facing relationship issues.
The passion demonstrated by the founding 25 individuals who met in 1982 has led to an organisation which now boasts a membership of over 5,000 family lawyers with approximately 900 other professionals who work in the family law area such as financial advisors, family consultants and barristers. This broader membership recognises the changing face of family law which is an increasingly interdisciplinary field of practice. For an individual going through a relationship breakdown it is important that emotional, financial and legal aspects are covered and support is available. As from its inception, members are required to abide by the Code. That same passion borne in 1982 drives members who want to see divorce and separation handled in a way minimising conflict, stress and the impact on children some 30 years later.
Resolution has worked to develop and also spearheaded new approaches in family law whilst trying to reserve the Court as a place of last rather than first resort.
Family mediation was introduced 40 years ago but was not seen as a mainstream option. Resolution then began to train and accredit mediators and now has 810 mediator members. Couples are actively encouraged to consider mediation as a genuine alternative to assist in family dispute resolution.
Resolution also introduced the collaborative law practice also known as the non Court option where clients and their lawyers engage in a series of four way meetings to consider constructive solutions to issues faced often assisted by financial neutrals or family consultants promoting a team approach.
Resolution supports two family law arbitration schemes dealing with finances and children.
Resolution has been influential in lobbying for family law reforms, taking an active stand for their members, their clients and their families alike. Campaigns have included a persistent call for “no fault” divorce moving away from the current system focusing on blame, cohabitation law reform, the use of pre-nuptial agreements, protection of those suffering from domestic abuse and the vulnerable with provision of Legal Aid.
At Trethowans we are proud that our 7 strong team are all active members of Resolution committed to the constructive approach ensuring issues are dealt with in a sensitive and practical manner to assist our clients and their families.
Article Written by Grant Cameron