Supreme Court Proposes Collaborative Law Rules

Report of the ADR Section Legislative Committee

On April 5, 2013 the Washington Supreme Court entered an Order on the adoption of Collaborative Law Rules. A copy of the complete order with the proposed Rules is here: April 5 2013 Order on adoption of Collaborative Law Rules.

It might be noted that the order of the Washington Supreme Court reads at the start:

These proposed rules have been a long time in the making and are the result of the work and collaboration of many. Congratulations to everyone who took part.

It might also be noted that the Rules recommended by the WSBA Rules Committee were proposed and endorsed by the ADR Section of the WSBA and the ADR Section's Legislative Committee. In 2009, it was the KCBA’s newly formed Collaborative Law Section that proposed the adoption of provisions amending Washington family law statutes to provide for Collaborative Law in the 2009 Legislative Session. The proposal did not result in any legislative or court action.  In the meantime, the Uniform Law Commission, formerly the National Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, was studying, drafting and proposing the Uniform Collaborative Law Rules and Act, a final draft of which was adopted by the ULC in 2010

The ADR Section’s Legislative Committee, which had been following and reporting on the work of the ULC began holding meetings, focus groups, and discussions on the UCLR/A that was under consideration and proposed nationally by the Uniform Law Commission.  We communicated, worked and collaborated with many different sections, organizations, groups and interested parties, including the Washington ULC, Collaborative Law practitioners, WSBA Sections and Committees, the Superior Court Judges Association, advocates against domestic violence, consumers, judges, University professors, and Washington legislators, among others.

In November 2011 a forum on the ULCR/A was hosted by the ADR Section’s Legislative Committee and attended by most every interested group in the state.  A consensus was reached at that forum that the ULC proposal should be enacted in Washington by an appropriate combination of Statute and Rules. We began working toward that goal and finding that appropriate combination that could be supported by interested parties, enacted and adopted by the Legislature and our Supreme Court.

Everyone who has worked so hard should take a great deal of satisfaction and should be congratulated.  The task is not complete however.  The UCLA, now pending in the Rules Committee of the legislature may be passed in its entirety and require amending to conform to the Rules proposed by the court.  The proposed Rules are to be published and open to commentary for sixty days. Nevertheless, there’s light at the end of the tunnel, as they say, and the train should be arriving at the station soon.

Thanks and congratulations.  

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