The growing success of the annual Family Mediation Week initiative

 With a 490-strong contingent of Resolution members who are accredited family mediators, many readers of The Review will be interested to learn about the growing success of the annual Family Mediation Week initiative.

Organised by the Family Mediation Council (FMC) since 2021, Family Mediation Week has been taking place for five days each January, with the aim of increasing professional and public understanding of family mediation.

The 2024 event saw well over 3,000 people participate in a series of webinars and face-to-face meetings, almost doubling the figure for the corresponding 2023 initiative.

Between 22 and 26 January 2024, Family Mediation Week webinars provided information and support to mediators, lawyers, divorce coaches, financial experts, social workers, and other professionals working with separated families. Further webinars during the week helped members of the public learn about how family mediation can support them.

Among the most popular webinars were those focusing on:

  • Everything lawyers always wanted to know about mediation (but were afraid to ask).
  • How family mediation can work when dealing with high-conflict personalities.
  • Divorce coaching, mediation and legal advice: How they can work together.
  • A conversation with former BBC News Presenter Joanna Gosling about changing her career to become a mediator.
  • Pension matters within mediation: why educating clients is key to helping them move forward.
  • Self-care when managing and working with conflict.
  • MED ARB: Practice & Procedure.
  • How we can utilise neutrals within mediation.
  • Our launch event including an address from Mrs Justice Knowles, Lead Judge for Private Law and Domestic Abuse, Family Division, Royal Courts of Justice.

For those who missed any of the live events, recordings of the webinars are available on the FMC website, clocking up many hundreds of views already.

As Resolution and FMC Board member Alison Bull put it:

“The aim of Family Mediation Week is to further raise the profile of family mediation and the numerous benefits it can bring. The participation figures indicate its growing success, and we look forward to the positive impact this increased understanding of the process will have for separating and separated families across England and Wales, as well as increased opportunities for Resolution members whether mediators, lawyers, financial or therapeutic professionals. We are grateful to all those who took part, and we say a huge ‘thank you’ to all those who organised these excellent events, including many Resolution members.”

Alison added that plans for January 2025’s Family Mediation Week are now under way, and hopes that by then the Ministry of Justice will have implemented its expressed commitment to making early legal advice available for families in its consultation response on “Supporting earlier resolution of private family law arrangements”.