Global Collaborative Law Council
Collaborative Resolution of Civil Disputes
Ethics Opinions on Collaborative Law:
- Legal ethics opinions in eleven states have addressed Collaborative Law: Minnesota (1997), North Carolina (2002), Pennsylvania (2004), Maryland (2004), Kentucky (2005), New Jersey (2005), Colorado (2007), Washington (2007), Missouri (2008) and South Carolina (2010), Alaska (2011). All state ethics opinions, except the Colorado opinion, approve the use of Collaborative Law with appropriate precautions, such as the importance of obtaining informed consent from all parties before entering into the process.
- In August 2007, in response to the Colorado opinion the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility issued Formal Opinion 07-477, which squarely supports Collaborative Law provided that all parties have been informed about the benefits and risks of participating in the process and given his or her informed consent. Although the ABA Ethics Opinion is not binding on states, it has been and will continue to be persuasive as ethical opinions are issued by other states in the future. In is interesting to note that three states issued opinions subsequent to the ABA Opinion.
- In October, 2008, the Collaborative Law Committee of the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution issued a Discussion Draft entitled Summary of Ethics Rules Governing Collaborative Practice, The white paper addresses ethical issues considered in existing state court opinions and ABA Formal Opinion 07-477.
State Collaborative Law Statutes and Court Rules:
- Following the enactment of the Texas statute in 2001 which placed collaborative law procedures in the Family Code, two other states enacted collaborative law statutes. The North Carolina statute (2003) is patterned after the Texas statute. The California statute (2007) requires a written agreement, but does not specifically define the elements of the collaborative law process.
- In July 2009, the Uniform Law Commission by a unanimous vote, approved the Uniform Collaborative Law Act. In March 2010 the Commission made a few modifications to the Act and adopted Court Rules which mirror the Act.
- The modifications and addition of the Court Rules have been approved by the Uniform Law Commission, and the UCLA/USCR, as amended, dated October 12, 2010 is available for introduction in state legislatures. States will now have several options: to enact the original UCLA, or the revised Act, or court rules, or a combination thereof. At the end of 2012, the UCLA had been enacted in Utah, Nevada and Texas (applicable to matters arising under the Family Code).
- In addition,courts in a number of states have established court rules providing for the use of Collaborative Law.
- For more information on the history and development of the Uniform Collaborative Law Act/Rules, and the current status of enactments and introductions, go to the Uniform Collaborative Law Acts / Rules page.