Monday 18 January to Friday 22 January is household mediation week, organised by the Household Mediation Council to unfold the phrase about the advantages of household mediation.

Elaine Richardson

Mediation has an essential position inside civil justice, significantly inside household disputes. In household legislation, mediation doesn’t create an inequality of arms between events, as is the case in some areas of legislation, similar to housing. In household disputes, it is a chance to take away the animosity that may naturally come up throughout court docket proceedings and allow members to make their very own selections primarily based on what is going to work for them and their households.

Mediation is usually not properly understood by the household legislation neighborhood however it may be one of the cost-effective and quickest methods to take care of the problems surrounding relationship breakdown. Mediation and non-court dispute decision measures will all the time be handiest alongside recommendation from an professional household legislation solicitor.

Mediation, within the context of household points, works as a result of it’s a alternative: individuals come voluntarily to kind issues out and this factor of self-determination is a power of the method. It’s confidential – topic to the same old caveats concerning abuse – and it gives a non-public area the place members can take into consideration how they’ll resolve points.

The mediator will assist members to achieve selections by appearing to maintain a steadiness between them in order that they’ll talk about issues calmly.

In reality, judges sitting within the household courts encourage individuals to settle their variations away from the court docket and so they help using mediation to take action. Half three of The Household Process Guidelines states that ‘the court docket should take into account, at each stage in proceedings, whether or not non-court dispute decision is acceptable’.

I’m a Legislation Society accredited mediator in addition to a practising household solicitor and have discovered that the 2 skillsets complement one another. As a mediator, I can share my expertise as an skilled household solicitor and as a solicitor, I totally perceive the advantages mediation and non-court dispute decision can provide my purchasers.

For the reason that first lockdown in March 2020, mediators have been providing their companies on-line and the advantages skilled embody a fast response time, no journey time and related journey prices with location being no impediment. Mediators are actually working with members throughout the nation and so they have tailored their companies and risen to the challenges of the pandemic in a versatile method.

Examine and distinction this to the inevitable backlogs now confronted by the court docket system and it’s simple to see why this type of non-court dispute decision is a lovely alternative for a lot of separating {couples}, significantly since authorized support is on the market for household mediation.

In line with the lately revealed Household Options Group Report, of the annual 280,000 youngsters of separating mother and father, round one third could also be turning to the household court docket – which may contribute an enormous quantity of instances to the household courts.

Mediation is acceptable in most household relationship breakdowns. Usually, the state of affairs will contain a separating couple wishing to resolve the preparations for his or her youngsters, their funds and their divorce proceedings. The creativity and suppleness of the method consists of mediation members having the ability to sit along with the mediator or in separate rooms in the course of the conferences.

Solicitors could be concerned within the mediation course of and a suitably certified mediator can meet with youngsters independently of their mother and father if that is agreed.

Mediation typically entails a single mediator, though two mediators can work collectively in co-mediation in instances that are significantly advanced or tense.

There are a lot of choices to customized construct the mediation course of. For instance, impartial monetary advisors can help in a impartial capability and the members can work with a household therapist or a divorce coach.

The mediation course of could be deliberate to make members really feel as snug as potential within the mediation conferences, and the mediator will present reassurance if members are fearful about assembly with the previous accomplice.

My expertise of digital household mediation in the course of the pandemic has been largely constructive as my consumer base has elevated from native to countrywide – distance is not an object! Shoppers have benefitted from the swift, versatile and cost-effective response which on-line conferences present within the consolation of their very own environments. It has, nonetheless been a steep studying curve on the know-how entrance!

The necessity to promote the advantages of household mediation has by no means been higher.

If you need to get entangled or discover out extra about household mediation week, please go to


Elaine Richardson is co-chair of the Legislation Society household legislation committee