Family News
Brenda Wong Robinson

Pooleys is pleased to announce that Mrs Brenda Wong Robinson has been re-accredited by Resolution as a specialist family lawyer with particular specialisms in complex financial remedies and private children law.

A Specialist Family Lawyer on finance and children Mrs Wong Robinson has been a member of Pooleys LLP (established in 1883) since 1995.

As head of the Family Law Department she is a member of the Law Society Family Law Panel, a Family Law Mediator, and has been a Collaborative Family Lawyer since 2006.

Family Law - Alternative Dispute Resolution Cantonese or Mandarin

Mrs Brenda Wong Robinson of Pooleys Solicitors LLP originates from Hong Kong; she is bi-lingual in Cantonese / Mandarin and English and has been practising Family Law in England since 1988. She is a member of the Law Society Family Law Panel; Since 2006 she has been a Family Law Mediator, and a Collaborative Family Lawyer; she is a Family Law specialist with Resolution.

The Family Procedure Rules 2010 came into effect in April 2011. In accordance with the rules, parties in divorce proceedings will be expected to have followed the protocol and to explore the scope for a mediated outcome. Failure to do so can lead to the proceedings being stayed; there may be cost penalties which can be very expensive.

Forms of alternative dispute resolution:

Family Mediation - this is a way of helping parties make the practical arrangements they need for the future. Should parties be willing to attend mediation, then the aim of the process is to help find a workable solution that meets everyone’s requirements. Family Mediation takes place in a private and informal setting with only the Mediator present with the parties directly involved. The Mediator is not there to tell the parties what to do nor to take sides, but to help explore different solutions. Mediation is not counselling; it is a way of settling disputes or making joint decisions. It can be an economic way to reduce conflict and misunderstandings and can improve communication between the parties. The parties can use Mediation at any stage whether or not they have consulted solicitors or have started court proceedings. A Mediator generally meets with each party separately at the outset so that concerns can be discussed before any joint session.

The parties’ solicitors can give independent legal advice both during and at the end of Mediation to ensure that any agreement reached is right for the party. Should Mediation break down, discussions and decisions reached during the Family Mediation process cannot be disclosed in court later.

Collaborative Family Law - under this approach, parties meet round the table for discussion with their solicitors to reach a workable solution; this is an alternative to the more ponderous method of limiting contact between parties to correspondence between solicitors.

Parties need to have a genuine desire to make the process work; they must be open and honest in all dealings. To begin the process of collaboration, specially trained Collaborative Family Lawyers sign an agreement that parties intend to reach a solution without going to court. Once an agreement is signed, it will disqualify the Collaborative Lawyers from representing the parties in court should the Collaborative process break down; following such a breakdown, parties will have to find new solicitors to represent them at court.

Mediation and Collaborative Family Law can involve the extended family or the children, provided they are of a suitable age and have sufficient understanding, during discussions.

Our Family Law Department

This is headed by Brenda Wong Robinson, a Solicitor member of Pooleys LLP. She has been trained as a family mediator and collaborative family lawyer. Having been brought up in Hong Kong, she is a native speaker and writer of Cantonese and she can also converse in Mandarin.

For London based clients Pooleys LLP is able to offer face to face legal advice in London. Swindon is only an hour by train from Paddington. Modern technology makes communication easy, not merely by telephone, fax and email, but also by Skype - for the more technologically competent.