AN experienced collaborative family lawyer has joined Worcester practice HallmarkHulme.

Pat Beeching, who has been appointed consultant solicitor at the city’s oldest law firm, will focus on developing alternatives to court-based resolutions to family issues.

“The fact that couples can sort things out quietly with minimum damage - and keep control of their costs - is a story that needs to be heard,” said Mrs Beeching, who is also co-ordinator of the Worcestershire group of collaboratively trained lawyers.

As a career-long litigator and former Crown Prosecutor, Mrs Beeching is no stranger to the courtroom. She admits that sometimes court proceedings are necessary. "They should however be a last resort," she added. "The adversarial approach is rarely suited to family issues and can cause untold damage. That is why I am committed to dispute resolution as a collaborative lawyer and all-issues family mediator.

"Collaborative lawyers don't take sides or do anything to inflame the situation. We're trying to spread the message that the days of battling in court are over and that people can emerge from the situation with dignity and with good memories of their marriage preserved."

HallmarkHulme partner and head of the family law department Lesley Bartlett said: "I am very pleased to welcome Pat to the department. Her experience in all areas of family law will provide added strength to our existing thriving practice and we all look forward to working with her."