Today brings a close to 2021’s Family Mediation Week.
Mediation is one of the Alternative Dispute Resolution options, rather than going to court. COVID-19 has impacted on us all, in one way or another, including how we conduct mediation.
The court system does not have the capacity to deal with cases effectively. Even before the pandemic, the courts were struggling with the volume of applications it was receiving. Judges encourage anyone considering to issue a court application, to try mediation first, as it is considered a more effective solution. You cannot issue an application at court, without making a referral to mediation first.
When mediation works, it is quicker and much cheaper than going through the courts, and the clients are in control of their own decision making, rather than a decision being imposed on them by the court. Mediation can be flexible in its format and its timings to fit round the clients’ daily life. The clients set the agenda, rather than the Mediator.
Mediation is designed to support parties, help them parent together and to listen to the other persons perspective. A Mediator cannot tell the clients what to do, but can assist them with options and look at other alternatives that they may not have considered. A Mediator’s role is to remain neutral and impartial throughout, and no sides are taken. Solicitors and other professionals, such as accountants, can also attend mediation if it is felt appropriate.
Although most mediators are working from home during lockdown, it does not mean that mediation cannot take place. The initial meeting with the mediator and joint sessions are held virtually. One of the advantages of having a virtual meeting is that the mediator can share their screen with the participants and everyone is looking at the same page and working at the same pace. Sessions that are held virtually are normally shorter than face to face meetings to take into consideration tiredness from screen time.
All qualified family mediators belong to one of the six organisation that together make up the Family Mediation Council. Pauline Ellis is a Senior Associate Solicitor and an Accredited Family Mediator with Dutton Gregory. She is also a member of Resolution and the Family Mediation Council. However, not all Mediators are family solicitors. One of the advantages of having a Mediator, who also practises as a solicitor, is that they are aware of what the court will or will not order.
If you are interested in finding out more about mediation, please call Pauline Ellis on:
📞 02380 221344 / 01202 315005