Whether you are getting divorced, dealing with separation, or having issues with your ex regarding the children, if you are thinking about instructing a solicitor, you may at some point have heard, or read, the word ‘Resolution’ – the name of a membership organisation for lawyers and professionals. But what actually is Resolution and how can it help sort out your case? This article explains it all.
Who are Resolution and what do they do?
Resolution is an organisation with members made up of family law professionals, such as lawyers, solicitors, financial advisors, therapists, and other professionals who promote a non-confrontational approach to resolving family related disputes. A member’s remit is to encourage solutions that consider the needs of the whole family through the prism of the best interest of any children.
Resolution practitioners should not write letters which threaten or put pressure on the other party; they will listen to their clients and try to help them make decisions that will benefit them in the long term as opposed to focussing on the immediate aftermath of relationship breakdown.
Members of Resolution follow a Code of Practice, which includes things such as treating everyone involved in a case with respect and without judgment. The organisation also campaigns for changes in the law to benefit individuals who become involved in family disputes.
What is included in the Code of Practice?
As stated above, all members are required to sign up to the organisation’s Code of Practice and are expected to complete training about how to use it during their day-to-day work. This means Resolution members will:
- Manage or reduce any conflict and confrontation, such as not using inflammatory language
- Encourage and support families to put the best interests of the children first
- Act with integrity, honesty, and objectivity
- Help clients manage and understand the potential long-term emotional and financial consequences of any decisions
- Listen to and treat everyone involved in the case with respect and without judgment
- Use their knowledge and experience to guide clients through the options open to them
- Continually develop their skills and knowledge
- Use the Resolution guides of good practice in their day-to-day work
Engaging a Resolution lawyer may help you avoid court by dealing with cases on a more collegiate basis. Whilst a non-member may approach the case more aggressively from the outset.
How does a legal professional become a member of Resolution?
Membership is open to anyone working in family law or the family justice sector for a set fee and contains over 6,500 practitioners in England and Wales. But they also offer a specialist accreditation scheme which recognises members who demonstrate superiority in family law within their specific areas of expertise. Lawyers who apply for specialist accreditation must show a thorough knowledge of the law, procedure, and practice. Their experience, skills, and proficiency are also assessed through a series of core and portfolio assignments. Specialist accreditations are available in:
- Advocacy (financial remedy proceedings)
- Advocacy (private law children)
- Child abduction
- Private children law
- Public children law
- TOLATA and cohabitation
- Complex financial remedies 1 (low income and assets)
- Complex financial remedies 2 (middle/high income and assets)
- Domestic abuse
- Financial provision for children
- Harmful cultural practices (forced marriage and honour based violence)
- Preserving and locating family assets (emergency procedures in financial remedies)
Whilst many family practitioners are members of Resolution, not all hold specialist accreditation. And of those that do, it demonstrates a higher degree of knowledge and excellence in their chosen specialism.
Why choose a Resolution member?
Resolution members having signed up to the Code of Practice are committed to sorting out a wide range of separation, divorce, finances, and child disputes in a way that minimises conflict following a non-confrontational and constructive approach. Resolution members agree to:
- Explain all the options and give you confidence to make the best decision for your circumstances
- Listen to you, give you an honest and open appraisal and treat you with respect
- Help you focus on long term goals
- Help you balance emotional and financial costs against what you want to achieve
- Work with other professionals to find the right approach and best solutions for your case
- Manage stress
Can I make a complaint about a solicitor who is a member of Resolution?
If a member of Resolution works outside the Code of Practice, then you can make a complaint. All complaints are handled by the Family Mediation Council. It is advised that in the first instance you should check that the subject of the complaint is actually a member and raise the issue with them directly to give them an opportunity to resolve it. Complaints can be raised with Resolution in the following circumstances where:
- The person is a member of Resolution. If they are not a member, then the complaint should be addressed to the firm in question and/or the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) or other regulatory body.
- The proceedings are at an end and must have ended within the last 12 months. This time frame is extended if the regulatory body makes a finding of professional misconduct about the member.
- All investigations from regulatory bodies must have concluded
The complaints procedure is a five stage process:
- Complete Resolution’s online complaints form
- Resolution will assess the complaint and contact you to discuss the matter and decide whether they need any further information. If the matter cannot be resolved informally, they will discuss taking the matter further.
- The member will be contacted and asked to respond to the complaint. They will be asked to provide an explanation for their actions.
- Resolution will contact you to discuss the response. If you are happy with the reply, the process will end there. If not, and there are no ongoing proceedings or negotiations, you can request that the matter be referred to the Practice Standards Panel who will assess the complaint further.
- If the Practice Standards Panel decides the complaint is justified, they will suggest a plan of action. The decision of the Practice Standards Panel is final unless the grounds for appeal are met.
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