Kirsty Morbey

Kirsty MorbeyHead of Family

On the 10 things you need to know about Mediation

1) Mediation is a Dispute Resolution Tool where parties are assisted by a third person, the Mediator, who attempts to improve the process of Dispute Resolution and assist the parties to reach an outcome on which they can both agree.

2) Mediation is voluntary.  Both parties must be in agreement to attend and attempt Mediation.

3) Some Mediation services offer Shuttle Mediation.  This is where the two parties mediating do not meet and the Mediator or in some cases, two Mediators, shuttle between the two parties to assist their discussions.

4) Mediation is mandatory before you can issue a Court Application in the Family Court, in respect of either Children Applications or Financial Applications.

5) When in a Mediation session, the Mediator cannot give either party any legal advice.  If either party needs legal advice, they must access this via their own independent solicitor outside of the Mediation process.

Mediation lawyer between tow people

6) Some Private Mediators offer a service whereby both parties’ solicitors can attend the Mediation with their client.

7) Legal Aid is still available for Mediation.  The Mediator will assess each party in relation to their eligibility at their first meeting.  If only one party is eligible for legal aid, then this can also fund some free sessions for the other party.

8) The Family Court has recently been running a pilot scheme whereby parties not eligible for legal aid can receive a bursary of up to £500 from the Court towards Mediation costs in order to keep the matter in Mediation and avoid a Court Application.

9) If an agreement is reached in Mediation, it is drawn up into a document called a Memorandum of Understanding.  This document is not a Court Order and therefore is not technically binding or enforceable.  However, it is good evidence of intention should the agreement breakdown.

10) A recent survey by the Family Mediation Council showed that in circumstances where both parties were willing to mediate, over 70% of cases had a successful outcome.

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