Issue: Uniform Collaborative Law Rules Act
The Act provides an alternative mechanism for resolve family law issues.
No formal position.
The Uniform Law Commission (ULC) developed the Uniform Collaborative Law Rules/Act (UCLR/A), which was approved by ULC membership in 2009. The Act promotes collaborative law as a voluntary option for parties who wish to use it as a form of alternative dispute resolution. If a dispute is not resolved, the collaborative attorneys must withdraw and unrelated litigation attorneys take over the case. Nothing that occurred or was said in the negotiations is discoverable under the Act.
ULC presented the Act to the American Bar Association (ABA) in 2009 for approval. The ABA expressed concern that the Act could only be implemented by statute and had concern about the scope of the Act. ULC responded by developing a model court rule and adding an optional provision that would allow states to limit application of the Act to family law matters.
Based on implementation experience, ULC adopted amendments in 2010. The 2010 amendments create an option for the Act to be adopted in court rule, rather than state statute. The amendments also include implementation guidance. The amendments provide states with the option to limit application of the Act to family law matters or broaden the application. Further, the amendments provide courts with the discretion to approve stays of ongoing proceedings and calendaring deadlines when parties voluntarily enter into a collaborative law process.
The amended Act was considered by the ABA at its 2011 Annual Meeting. Due to opposition by the Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) and the Litigation Section, the Act was not approved by the ABA.
The ULC continues to promote the model act/court rule. Eight jurisdictions have implemented the Act thus far – Alabama, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Nevada, Ohio, Texas, Utah, and Washington. Also, thus far in 2013, implementing legislation has been introduced in Illinois, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and South Carolina.