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First Substitute H.B. 284

Representative Lorie D. Fowlke proposes the following substitute bill:




Chief Sponsor: Lorie D. Fowlke

Senate Sponsor: Lyle W. Hillyard

             7      LONG TITLE
             8      General Description:
             9          This bill creates the Utah Uniform Collaborative Law Act.
             10      Highlighted Provisions:
             11          This bill:
             12          .    establishes minimum requirements for collaborative law participation agreements,
             13      including written agreements, description of the matter submitted to a collaborative
             14      law process, and designation of collaborative lawyers;
             15          .    requires that the collaborative law process be voluntary;
             16          .    specifies when and how a collaborative law process begins and is terminated;
             17          .    creates a stay of proceedings when parties sign a participation agreement to attempt
             18      to resolve a matter related to a proceeding pending before a tribunal while allowing
             19      the tribunal to ask for periodic status reports;
             20          .    creates an exception to the stay of proceedings for a collaborative law process for
             21      emergency orders to protect health, safety, welfare, or interests of a party, a family
             22      member, or a dependent;
             23          .    authorizes tribunals to approve settlements arising out of a collaborative law
             24      process;
             25          .    codifies the disqualification requirement of collaborative lawyers if a collaborative

             26      law process terminates;
             27          .    defines the scope of the disqualification requirement to both the matter specified in
             28      the collaborative law participation agreement and to matters related to the
             29      collaborative matter;
             30          .    extends the disqualification requirement to lawyers in a law firm with which the
             31      collaborative lawyer is associated;
             32          .    requires parties to a collaborative law participation agreement to voluntarily
             33      disclose relevant information during the collaborative law process without formal
             34      discovery requests and update information previously disclosed that has materially
             35      changed;
             36          .    acknowledges that standards of professional responsibility and child abuse reporting
             37      for lawyers and other professionals are not changed by their participation in a
             38      collaborative law process;
             39          .    requires that lawyers disclose and discuss the material risks and benefits of a
             40      collaborative law process to help insure parties enter into collaborative law
             41      participation agreements with informed consent;
             42          .    creates an obligation on collaborative lawyers to screen clients for domestic
             43      violence and, if present, to participate in a collaborative law process only if the
             44      victim consents and the lawyer is reasonably confident that the victim will be safe;
             45      and
             46          .    authorizes parties to reach an agreement on the scope of confidentiality of their
             47      collaborative law communications.
             48      Monies Appropriated in this Bill:
             49          None
             50      Other Special Clauses:
             51          None
             52      Utah Code Sections Affected:
             53      ENACTS:
             54          78B-19-101, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             55          78B-19-102, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             56          78B-19-103, Utah Code Annotated 1953

             57          78B-19-104, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             58          78B-19-105, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             59          78B-19-106, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             60          78B-19-107, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             61          78B-19-108, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             62          78B-19-109, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             63          78B-19-110, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             64          78B-19-111, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             65          78B-19-112, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             66          78B-19-113, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             67          78B-19-114, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             68          78B-19-115, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             69          78B-19-116, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             71      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             72          Section 1. Section 78B-19-101 is enacted to read:

             74          78B-19-101. Title.
             75          This chapter may be cited as the "Utah Uniform Collaborative Law Act."
             76          Section 2. Section 78B-19-102 is enacted to read:
             77          78B-19-102. Definitions.
             78          In this chapter:
             79          (1) "Collaborative law communication" means a statement, whether oral or in a record,
             80      or verbal or nonverbal, that:
             81          (a) is made to conduct, participate in, continue, or reconvene a collaborative law
             82      process; and
             83          (b) occurs after the parties sign a collaborative law participation agreement and before
             84      the collaborative law process is concluded.
             85          (2) "Collaborative law participation agreement" means an agreement by persons to
             86      participate in a collaborative law process.
             87          (3) "Collaborative law process" means a procedure intended to resolve a collaborative

             88      matter without intervention by a tribunal in which persons:
             89          (a) sign a collaborative law participation agreement; and
             90          (b) are represented by collaborative lawyers.
             91          (4) "Collaborative lawyer" means a lawyer who represents a party in a collaborative
             92      law process.
             93          (5) "Collaborative matter" means a dispute, transaction, claim, problem, or issue for
             94      resolution described in a collaborative law participation agreement.
             95          (6) "Law firm" means:
             96          (a) lawyers who practice law together in a partnership, professional corporation, sole
             97      proprietorship, limited liability company, or association;
             98          (b) lawyers employed in a legal services organization;
             99          (c) the legal department of a corporation or other organization; or
             100          (d) the legal department of a government or governmental subdivision, agency, or
             101      instrumentality.
             102          (7) "Nonparty participant" means a person, other than a party and the party's
             103      collaborative lawyer, that participates in a collaborative law process.
             104          (8) "Party" means a person that signs a collaborative law participation agreement and
             105      whose consent is necessary to resolve a collaborative matter.
             106          (9) "Person" means an individual, corporation, business trust, estate, trust, partnership,
             107      limited liability company, association, joint venture, public corporation, government or
             108      governmental subdivision, agency, or instrumentality, or any other legal or commercial entity.
             109          (10) "Proceeding" means:
             110          (a) a judicial, administrative, arbitral, or other adjudicative process before a tribunal,
             111      including related pre-hearing and post-hearing motions, conferences, and discovery; or
             112          (b) a legislative hearing or similar process.
             113          (11) "Prospective party" means a person that discusses with a prospective collaborative
             114      lawyer the possibility of signing a collaborative law participation agreement.
             115          (12) "Record" means information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is
             116      stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in perceivable form.
             117          (13) "Related to a collaborative matter" means involving the same parties, transaction
             118      or occurrence, nucleus of operative fact, dispute, claim, or issue as the collaborative matter.

             119          (14) "Sign" means, with present intent to authenticate or adopt a record:
             120          (a) to execute or adopt a tangible symbol; or
             121          (b) to attach to or logically associate with the record an electronic symbol, sound, or
             122      process.
             123          (15) "Tribunal" means:
             124          (a) a court, arbitrator, administrative agency, or other body acting in an adjudicative
             125      capacity which, after presentation of evidence or legal argument, has jurisdiction to render a
             126      decision affecting a party's interests in a matter; or
             127          (b) a legislative body conducting a hearing or similar process.
             128          Section 3. Section 78B-19-103 is enacted to read:
             129          78B-19-103. Applicability.
             130          This chapter applies to a collaborative law participation agreement that meets the
             131      requirements of Section 78B-19-104 signed on or after May 11, 2010.
             132          Section 4. Section 78B-19-104 is enacted to read:
             133          78B-19-104. Collaborative law participation agreement -- Requirements.
             134          (1) A collaborative law participation agreement must:
             135          (a) be in a record;
             136          (b) be signed by the parties;
             137          (c) state the parties' intention to resolve a collaborative matter through a collaborative
             138      law process under this chapter;
             139          (d) describe the nature and scope of the matter;
             140          (e) identify the collaborative lawyer who represents each party in the process; and
             141          (f) contain a statement by each collaborative lawyer confirming the lawyer's
             142      representation of a party in the collaborative law process.
             143          (2) Parties may agree to include in a collaborative law participation agreement
             144      additional provisions not inconsistent with this chapter.
             145          Section 5. Section 78B-19-105 is enacted to read:
             146          78B-19-105. Beginning and concluding a collaborative law process.
             147          (1) A collaborative law process begins when the parties sign a collaborative law
             148      participation agreement.
             149          (2) A tribunal may not order a party to participate in a collaborative law process over

             150      that party's objection.
             151          (3) A collaborative law process is concluded by a:
             152          (a) resolution of a collaborative matter as evidenced by a signed record;
             153          (b) resolution of a part of the collaborative matter, evidenced by a signed record, in
             154      which the parties agree that the remaining parts of the matter will not be resolved in the
             155      process; or
             156          (c) termination of the process.
             157          (4) A collaborative law process terminates:
             158          (a) when a party gives notice to other parties in a record that the process is ended; or
             159          (b) when a party:
             160          (i) begins a proceeding related to a collaborative matter without the agreement of all
             161      parties; or
             162          (ii) in a pending proceeding related to the matter:
             163          (A) initiates a pleading, motion, order to show cause, or request for a conference with
             164      the tribunal;
             165          (B) requests that the proceeding be put on the tribunal's calendar; or
             166          (C) takes similar action requiring notice to be sent to the parties; or
             167          (c) except as otherwise provided by Subsection (5), when a party discharges a
             168      collaborative lawyer or a collaborative lawyer withdraws from further representation of a party.
             169          (5) A party's collaborative lawyer shall give prompt notice to all other parties of a
             170      discharge or withdrawal, in accordance with the Rules of Civil Procedure.
             171          (6) A party may terminate a collaborative law process with or without cause.
             172          (7) Notwithstanding the discharge or withdrawal of a collaborative lawyer, a
             173      collaborative law process continues, if not later than 30 days after the date that the notice of the
             174      discharge or withdrawal of a collaborative lawyer required by Subsection (4)(c) is sent to the
             175      parties:
             176          (a) the unrepresented party engages a successor collaborative lawyer; and
             177          (b) in a signed record:
             178          (i) the parties consent to continue the process by reaffirming the collaborative law
             179      participation agreement;
             180          (ii) the agreement is amended to identify the successor collaborative lawyer; and

             181          (iii) the successor collaborative lawyer confirms the lawyer's representation of a party
             182      in the collaborative process.
             183          (8) A collaborative law process does not conclude if, with the consent of the parties, a
             184      party requests a tribunal to approve a resolution of the collaborative matter or any part thereof
             185      as evidenced by a signed record.
             186          (9) A collaborative law participation agreement may provide additional methods of
             187      concluding a collaborative law process.
             188          Section 6. Section 78B-19-106 is enacted to read:
             189          78B-19-106. Proceedings pending before tribunal -- Status report.
             190          (1) Persons in a proceeding pending before a tribunal may sign a collaborative law
             191      participation agreement to seek to resolve a collaborative matter related to the proceeding.
             192      Parties shall file promptly with the tribunal a notice of the agreement after it is signed. Subject
             193      to Subsection (3) and Sections 78B-19-107 and 78B-19-108 , the filing shall include a request
             194      for a stay of the proceeding.
             195          (2) Parties shall file promptly with the tribunal notice in a record when a collaborative
             196      law process concludes and request the stay to be lifted. The notice may not specify any reason
             197      for termination of the process.
             198          (3) A tribunal in which a proceeding is stayed under Subsection (1) may require parties
             199      and collaborative lawyers to provide a status report on the collaborative law process and the
             200      proceeding. A status report may include only information on whether the process is ongoing or
             201      concluded. It may not include a report, assessment, evaluation, recommendation, finding, or
             202      other communication regarding a collaborative law process or collaborative law matter.
             203          (4) A tribunal shall provide parties notice and an opportunity to be heard before
             204      dismissing a proceeding in which a notice of collaborative process is filed based on delay or
             205      failure to prosecute.
             206          Section 7. Section 78B-19-107 is enacted to read:
             207          78B-19-107. Emergency orders.
             208          During a collaborative law process, a tribunal may issue emergency orders, including
             209      protective orders in accordance with Title 78B, Chapter 7, Part 1, Cohabitant Abuse Act, or
             210      Part 2, Child Protective Orders, to protect the health, safety, welfare, or interest of a party or
             211      member of a party's household.

             212          Section 8. Section 78B-19-108 is enacted to read:
             213          78B-19-108. Approval of agreement by tribunal.
             214          A tribunal may approve an agreement resulting from a collaborative law process.
             215          Section 9. Section 78B-19-109 is enacted to read:
             216          78B-19-109. Disclosure of information.
             217          Except as provided by law other than this chapter, during the collaborative law process,
             218      on the request of another party, a party shall make timely, full, candid, and informal disclosure
             219      of information related to the collaborative matter without formal discovery. A party also shall
             220      update promptly previously disclosed information that has materially changed. Parties may
             221      define the scope of disclosure during the collaborative law process.
             222          Section 10. Section 78B-19-110 is enacted to read:
             223          78B-19-110. Standards of professional responsibility and mandatory reporting
             224      not affected.
             225          This chapter does not affect:
             226          (1) the professional responsibility obligations and standards applicable to a lawyer or
             227      other licensed professional; or
             228          (2) the obligation of a person to report abuse or neglect, abandonment, or exploitation
             229      of a child or adult under the law of this state.
             230          Section 11. Section 78B-19-111 is enacted to read:
             231          78B-19-111. Appropriateness of collaborative law process.
             232          Before a prospective party signs a collaborative law participation agreement, a
             233      prospective collaborative lawyer shall:
             234          (1) assess with the prospective party factors the lawyer reasonably believes relate to
             235      whether a collaborative law process is appropriate for the prospective party's matter;
             236          (2) provide the prospective party with information that the lawyer reasonably believes
             237      is sufficient for the party to make an informed decision about the material benefits and risks of
             238      a collaborative law process as compared to the material benefits and risks of other reasonably
             239      available alternatives for resolving the proposed collaborative matter, such as litigation,
             240      mediation, arbitration, or expert evaluation; and
             241          (3) advise the prospective party that:
             242          (a) after signing an agreement if a party initiates a proceeding or seeks tribunal

             243      intervention in a pending proceeding related to the collaborative matter, the collaborative law
             244      process terminates;
             245          (b) participation in a collaborative law process is voluntary and any party has the right
             246      to terminate unilaterally a collaborative law process with or without cause; and
             247          (c) the collaborative lawyer and any lawyer in a law firm with which the collaborative
             248      lawyer is associated may not appear before a tribunal to represent a party in a proceeding
             249      related to the collaborative matter, except as authorized by the Rules of Professional Conduct.
             250          Section 12. Section 78B-19-112 is enacted to read:
             251          78B-19-112. Coercive or violent relationship.
             252          (1) Before a prospective party signs a collaborative law participation agreement, a
             253      prospective collaborative lawyer shall make reasonable inquiry whether the prospective party
             254      has a history of a coercive or violent relationship with another prospective party.
             255          (2) Throughout a collaborative law process, a collaborative lawyer reasonably and
             256      continuously shall assess whether the party the collaborative lawyer represents has a history of
             257      a coercive or violent relationship with another party.
             258          (3) If a collaborative lawyer reasonably believes that the party the lawyer represents or
             259      the prospective party who consults the lawyer has a history of a coercive or violent relationship
             260      with another party or prospective party, the lawyer may not begin or continue a collaborative
             261      law process unless:
             262          (a) the party or the prospective party requests to begin or to continue a process; and
             263          (b) the collaborative lawyer reasonably believes that the safety of the party or
             264      prospective party can be protected adequately during a process.
             265          Section 13. Section 78B-19-113 is enacted to read:
             266          78B-19-113. Confidentiality of collaborative law communication.
             267          A collaborative law communication is confidential to the extent agreed by the parties in
             268      a signed record or as provided by law of this state other than this chapter.
             269          Section 14. Section 78B-19-114 is enacted to read:
             270          78B-19-114. Authority of tribunal in case of noncompliance.
             271          (1) If an agreement fails to meet the requirements of Section 78B-19-104 , or a lawyer
             272      fails to comply with Section 78B-19-111 or 78B-19-112 , a tribunal may nonetheless find that
             273      the parties intended to enter into a collaborative law participation agreement if they:

             274          (a) signed a record indicating an intention to enter into a collaborative law participation
             275      agreement; and
             276          (b) reasonably believed they were participating in a collaborative law process.
             277          (2) If a tribunal makes the findings specified in Subsection (1), and the interests of
             278      justice require, the tribunal may:
             279          (a) enforce an agreement evidenced by a record resulting from the process in which the
             280      parties participated;
             281          (b) apply the disqualification provisions of Sections 78B-19-105 and 78B-19-106 ; and
             282          (c) apply the privileges in the Utah Rules of Evidence.
             283          Section 15. Section 78B-19-115 is enacted to read:
             284          78B-19-115. Uniformity of application and construction.
             285          In applying and construing this uniform act, consideration shall be given to the need to
             286      promote uniformity of the law with respect to its subject matter among states that enact it.
             287          Section 16. Section 78B-19-116 is enacted to read:
             288          78B-19-116. Relation to Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce
             289      Act.
             290          This chapter modifies, limits, and supersedes the federal Electronic Signatures in
             291      Global and National Commerce Act, 15 U.S.C.A. Sec. 7001 et seq. (2009), but does not
             292      modify, limit, or supersede Section 101(c) of that act, 15 U.S.C.A. Sec. 7001(c), or authorize
             293      electronic delivery of any of the notices described in Sec. 103(b) of that act, 15 U.S.C.A. Sec.
             294      7003(b).

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