In September 2016 a group of south east law firms launched a new legal services initiative, Collaborative Employment Law (‘CEL’). As one of the four founding law firms, Furley Page is offering Collaborative Employment Law to clients as an alternative to litigation. The other law firms participating are Thomson Snell & Passmore, Brachers, and Thackray Williams.
The group will work together to resolve employment and workplace disputes in a non-adversarial way to ensure a quick and cost effective employment related dispute resolution outcome for both employer and employee sides. CEL lawyers are professionally trained and hold an ACAS Certificate of Internal Workplace Mediation or equivalent in order to expertly advise on resolving employment disputes in a constructive setting. CEL is different from conventional mediation as it does not involve an independent third party mediator, enabling a more efficient and collaborative negotiation between the parties and their lawyers to reach an agreed settlement.
On the rare occurrence that CEL does not produce a resolution, the parties will not be required to change their lawyers in order to continue seeking a legal solution. Furthermore, the CEL process is confidential and provides an accessible service in which clients can resolve their disputes in a more efficient, less stressful and cost effective manner, than going through the courts.
Both the employer and employee must choose to use CEL and sign a participation agreement. Each side will nominate their CEL lawyer from participating firms before a meeting is arranged within 14-21 days. The parties will then prepare, with help from the collaborative lawyers, opening statements setting out the resolution they are each seeking to achieve and the CEL lawyers will help both parties to explore areas of agreement, consensus or mutual interest and build on those to try and make sure that resolution is achieved.