The traditional role of barristers has changed substantially in the last years as alternative dispute resolution methods have become ever more popular. At the same time, the role of solicitors has been changing too, as many now represent their clients in some of the lower courts.
This is reflected on the Bar Professional Training Course, as students’ training no longer solely focus on how to appear in court, but also how to be successful in alternative dispute resolution.
For clients, these new methods can seem disappointing at first glance, as many feel that winning is tantamount to appearing in court and having a judge ruling on the matter. With movies and TV-shows portraying the court process as one where the parties get to be actively involved, the reality can oftentimes prove disappointing. The reality of the courtroom can seem harsh and different, compared to what was expected.
In the long run, the court process will seldom help to get parties more amicable. However, alternative methods may be more successful in this, and although disagreeing parties may not think that they ever want to speak, processes such as mediation can assist them in their future dealings.
This is particularly so in relation to many family disputes that centre around children, who benefit from being raised in an environment that is not characterised by disputes. Hopefully, parties will find these methods helpful in the long run, beyond the specific disagreement at hand.