Founders of the newly launched Scottish Collaborative Law Group are confident that they will see the number of Scottish lawyers trained in collaborative law reach more than 140 by April next year, more than a fifth of all the family lawyer in the country. The group was officially launched at the Point Hotel in Edinburgh in November and is being spearheaded by a core of family lawyers that have been co-ordinating training sessions in collaborative law in Scotland since 2004. The group is being chaired by Catherine Caitlin of HBJ Gateley Wareing, with Gillian Crandles of Turcan Connell fulfilling the secretary role within the organisation. Other committee members include treasurer Shona Smith of Balfour & Manson, training co-ordinator Anne Hall Dick of Mowat Hall Dick and marketing co-ordinator Anne Cassidy of Duthie Ward in Aberdeen. The group conducted its first training in the relatively new art of collaborative law in November, taking around 50 lawyers through the course at that stage. In November 2005 another 45 lawyers underwent training from one of the leaders in the field of collaborative law, Pauline Tesler for the USA, who alongside the father of collaborative law, Stu Webb, has been a pioneer as the use of collaborative law in the field of divorce and separation as its use has spread across the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and now the UK. The next Scottish training programme under Tesler is scheduled to take place in April 2007. Gillian Crandles said that already around 50 cases have been undertaken using a collaborative approach, which sees all parties involved in the divorce or separation agreeing not to involve the courts as they hammer out divorce agreements with regards to rights to possessions and access to children. She said: “I certainly think we can move forward from where we are right now with the Scottish Collaborative Law Group. People are learning about it independently of us and we hope to take sign up another 50 people for next year’s training course. I think we can develop at that rate for the next few years until it becomes a mainstream option for delivering results. In the next two to three years it will become an established means of divorce procedure. “Most people have been positive about this. We have strong groups in Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Glasgow has perhaps been a bit slower and lawyers there are more resistant to it but they do a lot of divorce work in the sheriff court. There are some sceptics out there, but we do recognise that this approach is not for everyone.” For more information visit please visit the website at www.scottish-collaborativelawyers.com.