The Resolution way is very much part of the DNA of our practice.
Our lawyers are all members of resolution and subscribe to the Resolution Code of Practice.
Ian Walker is the long-standing chair of the Devon Region of Resolution and is also a member of Resolution’s national Dispute Resolution Committee. Fiona Griffin is a member of the committee of Resolution’s Somerset Region.
Resolution/The Solicitors Family Law Association
Resolution began life in 1982 and was originally called the Solicitors Family Law Association. The organisation was founded by a London based family lawyer called John Cornwell, who gathered together a group of 30 family lawyers who shared concerns about the aggressive and confrontational approach which was then often taken in family law.
This founding group believed that there was a better way of conducting family law cases and serving the needs of their clients. They wanted to improve the practice of family law to prevent the legal process increasing acrimonious between separating couples.
The first meeting of the Solicitors Family Law Association was held in December 1982 and a code of practice was drawn up. Soon regional groups sprang up.
In 2005 the Solicitors Family Law Association changed its name to Resolution. It has grown to an organisation of around 6500 family lawyers and other professionals and there are around 40 regional groups.
Resolution supports the development of family lawyers through its national and regional training programmes, through publications and good practice guides and through its accreditation scheme. Resolution also trains and accredits mediators and is the only body providing training and support for collaborative lawyers in England and Wales.
The cornerstone of membership of Resolution is adherence to the Code of Practice, which sets out the principles of a non-confrontational approach to family law matters. The principles of the code are widely recognised and have been adopted by the Law Society as recommended good practice for all family lawyers.
The Resolution Code of Practice promotes a constructive approach to resolving family issues which considers the needs of the whole family and in particular the best interests of children.
Here is a link to the Resolution Code of Practice
The code requires lawyers to deal with each other in a civilised way and to encourage their clients to put their differences aside and reach fair agreements.
Resolution is a very active organisation. In recent years a lot of energy has been expended in campaigning for a change to the law of divorce, so that allegations of blame will be removed from divorce petitions.
Resolution has a national committee which oversees its work and a number of subcommittees which look at improving practice in different areas of family law. Ian Walker is a member of the Dispute Resolution Committee (DR Committee). The purpose of the DR Committee is to improve and promote the ways in which cases are resolved out-of-court.
This is through the use of mediation, collaborative family law and arbitration. The committee is a very creative committee and during Ian’s time upon it has been working on the integration of arbitration with mediation and collaborative law and bringing different models of mediation into the mainstream.
In order to be the best and most progressive family lawyers, then family lawyers need ongoing training. Skills-based training is very much part of what resolution does. Indeed, Ian Walker was one of the first to train as a mediator with Resolution in 1996.
The Resolution model of mediation was particularly mindful of how a family lawyer could work by themselves as a mediator and bring their skills into assisting their mediation clients to resolve financial cases as well as children cases.
Resolution also produces good practice guides and a multitude of online training tools for its members.
the Devon region of Resolution is one of Resolution’s larger regions – both in terms of numbers and geography – with approximately 160 members. Ian Walker first elected as chair of Devon Resolution in 2009. Before this Ian was treasurer for four years. When he practiced in the Midlands in the 1990’s Ian was also on the committee of the Coventry and Warwickshire Region.
Devon Resolution is particularly active and during Ian’s time as chair he has founded an annual conference which has attracted a number of high-profile family law experts as speakers and which attracts around 130 delegates a year from Devon, Somerset and Cornwall.
In addition Devon Resolution has actively invested in supporting its members to improve their dispute resolution skills.
Why this is important to our clients
It would be very easy to be a member of Resolution and to pay lip service to the code of practice because – that’s what everyone else does.
Our view is that the Resolution principles are the best framework for best practice. All clients benefit if everyone is applying best practice – and it is therefore important to be involved and to actively contribute to the work of Resolution. If no one volunteered – then nothing would happen.
As a practice, it is fundamentally important that we practice the different forms of family dispute resolution and we make all of these available to all of our clients – where appropriate.
If your lawyer (s) don’t practice collaborative law or mediation or are uncomfortable with arbitration and/or don’t understand how arbitration can be combined with mediation or collaborative law then they are not going to be able to assist you to choose the right dispute resolution process for your family.
We are family dispute resolution specialists and within our team we practice all forms of family dispute resolution. Sometimes a court application is needed – which is fine – because we also specialise in family litigation (when necessary).
In most cases where there is family breakdown the best long-term outcomes for clients and their children are achieved through sensible negotiation aimed at achieving realistic and sensible outcomes. Sensible and effective negotiation isn’t simply making an offer and hoping for the best.
Sensible and effective negotiation requires much more than this – which is why we are constantly training and learning and improving our skills – so that we can do the very best for our clients.