Conflict Resolution Day: Resolving to do better, together…

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Question: Generally, what springs to mind when someone thinks of instructing a lawyer?

Answer: Inevitable, stressful Court proceedings and astronomical fees.

These common presumptions are understandably made when seeking advice and representation as to  family matters even.

Let’s just reflect upon that. There is a common misconception (promoted by the media and perhaps some lawyers themselves, unwittingly or otherwise) that the best and only way to address some of the most personal, sensitive and important areas of our lives is through a full on battle, in front of strangers; with a determination which is predominantly based on the inflexibilities of the law; all whilst paying sky high costs for the privilege of such an undignified ordeal, the same probably leaving all feeling worse than before it all started.

Court proceedings are necessary and unavoidable at times. The law has “teeth” for a reason.

Legal services can be expensive.  The old adage of “you get what you pay for” usually rings true for instructing lawyers also. It is about providing clear, transparent costs estimates to our clients, thus ensuring an appreciation of good value for money ultimately.

We, as lawyers, owe it to the public to step up on the positive publicity front and the myth-busting. We offer more than litigation. Mediation, Collaborative, Arbitration and various hybrid combinations of these dispute resolution paths are available also and offer incredibly intuitive, receptive, creative and effective tools for addressing family conflicts. These approaches are about working together in a private, respectful forum, in a more cost effective manner.

These routes are not for absolutely everyone and they are not suitable for absolutely all issues. However, we need to ditch the term “alternative” dispute resolution and simply present our clients with a menu of “dispute resolution” options, at the earliest opportunity, thus emphasising that Court action is not the unavoidable default. Costs can be better tailored and managed within these exciting arenas. You, the client; the person with the personal matters, remain in control. That must make sense when it’s your life and your family.

As a Collaboratively trained family lawyer and one of the founding members of the Worthing Collaborative Pod, I practise what I preach here. I can proudly say that this side of my services gives me the opportunity to effectively “co-work” cases with clients and fellow minded lawyers and other professionals.

Dispute resolution is so vital to us all that it has gained National Day status on the 15th October! But, the message it cascades applies every day of the year. The needs of our clients and those closest to them, are at the epicentre of what we do at Bennett Griffin, always.

If you would like us to help you find the right way forward, please give us a call on 01903 229914 or email me at or email my highly experienced and personable colleague Sarah Pennicott at

Disclaimer – Please note that this update is not intended to be exhaustive or be a substitute for legal advice. The application of the law in this area will often depend upon the specific facts and you are advised to seek specific advice on any given scenario.