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The family law landscape is changing. The focus is now more than ever on working together to find a resolution. With the introduction of the HMCTS online platform making it easier for clients to complete their own divorce online and the implementation of no-fault divorce in April 2022, family law could see an increase in families trying to work through difficulties outside of the court arena, through out-of-court dispute resolution methods, and primarily through mediation.
A combination of circumstances and pressures led one family lawyer to shift over entirely to mediation. So how has it worked out?
Mediators clearly have a great deal of influence over the structure and conduct of the negotiation process. So what happens if they get it wrong?
As family lawyers, we are used to referring parties to mediation, but it is rare for us to have insight into what actually goes on at those sessions and the importance of the conversations that take place there. Mary Raymont and Margaret Kelly-Edwards took the participants of this workshop, “The role of the lawyer in the mediation process”, swiftly into the world of role play, only too familiar to those who are qualified as mediators.
Resolution members are committed to keeping issues that arise between couples on a relationship breakdown out of court. One of the ways in which our members achieve this is through hybrid mediation. Hybrid mediation brings together the best of both the family and the civil mediation models.
The remote experience does not need to be a lesser form of mediation – in fact, it can create its own advantages.
In 2018 Henry Brown wrote an outline and training programme to offer a hybrid model encompassing individual meetings with clients that is inclusive of separate confidences. The first course was held in London in February of 2018, co-presented by Henry Brown, Suzanne Kingston and Karin Walker.
Naomi Hayward reviews the Essential Skills for Working Relationships course run by Angela Lake-Carroll and Suzy Power.
Online mediation has more than demonstrated its worth to separating families during the COVID-19 pandemic, argues one practitioner.
Necessity breeds creativity, and the current challenges have opened up a new way of working that suits a lot of clients very well. The coronavirus has a lot to answer for. Never in a million years did I picture being able to do my job from home. From the restrictions that were put upon us all, I have been able to adapt the way I work and offer a more flexible approach to suit my clients’ needs.