Is a collaborative lawyer required to disclose information that the other side has not requested, but which may be important to the case?
No. The informal “good faith question/good faith response” approach is not intended to require any party to disclose information that has not been requested.
When the Collaborative Law Center set out to devise a disclosure approach that could occur without court supervision, a discovery requirement resembling “core discovery” under Fed.R.Civ.P.. 26(a)(1) was considered but rejected. “Core discovery” and its supplementation requirements can lead to abuses that would naturally impede the collaborative law process, including one party inundating the other with mountains of information that will be of no use to the other party.
In the collaborative law process, the goal is to provide the parties with the information they believe they need to resolve their dispute – no more, no less. Thus, by instituting the “good faith question/good faith response” approach, the Collaborative Law Center’s participation agreement places the burden on the party seeking information to specify what information he/she, in good faith, will need to resolve the dispute without litigation.