Queensland Law Society

Has QLS an official position on Collaborative Law?

QLS Council was the first Law Society in Australia to release a formal Guideline on Collaborative Law. Released in January 2008 the Guideline reads:

"Where a solicitor agrees to act for a client utilising a ‘collaborative law’ arrangement the following Guideline, endorsed by the Queensland Law Society Council (“Council”) on 31 January 2008, should be observed:

Council recognises the growing interest and acceptance in Australia of Collaborative Law as a method of alternative dispute resolution. As the participation agreement and collaborative law contract results in limitations to the retainer usually entered into by practitioner and client, and as these limitations may potentially conflict with the best interests of clients, Council is of the view that a competent and diligent solicitor should take the following steps prior to entering into the Collaborative Law process:

  • Ensure clients are fully informed of:
    • the limitations placed on the advocacy and advice provided by the practitioner when entering into a participation agreement or similar contract as part of a Collaborative Law process. It should be clearly stated to the client that such limitations will prevent the practitioner from acting on behalf of the client should the collaborative process fail and it is in the client’s best interest to litigate.
    • the possible additional cost to the client should the process not result in a mutually agreed settlement and the practitioner is required to withdraw from the retainer in compliance with the collaborative law contract.
    • alternative methods of non-court dispute resolution, including mediation.

  • Obtain written consent: Practitioners should prepare and have their client sign a written agreement in which the client:
    • acknowledges they have been fully informed of the issues outlined above, and 
    • gives their consent to their, and their solicitor’s participation in the collaborative law dispute resolution process."