The information that clients share with the mediator is kept confidential, with some very limited exceptions*.
Proposals put forward during mediation cannot be referred to in court proceedings. If you try mediation but it doesn’t work for you, the court will never be told why mediation wasn’t successful.
*The only exception is if we are made aware of harm or risk of harm to anyone (especially a child) or if we are given previously undisclosed information about a criminal offence: there may be a duty to disclose this to the relevant authorities.
Mediation is recommended when parents find it hard to agree on making suitable arrangements for children after a family breakdown. There are several advantages to attending mediation, such as:
The mediator will try to find common ground between you. If you’re not comfortable with being in the same room as your ex-partner, the mediator can arrange ‘shuttle’ mediation. This is where the mediator speaks with you alone and then speaks to your ex-partner with your proposals separately. It might take more than one session to reach an agreement.
Upon an agreement being reached between you and your ex-partner, a “memorandum of understanding” will be created by the mediator so everyone understands what has been agreed.
From April 2014, anyone applying to the courts for assistance in resolving disputes about children or finances will be required to attend a meeting Mediation Information Assessment Meeting. This includes any applications for:
You will not need to attend mediation for the above applications if you are applying for a consent order, or if there are ongoing emergency proceedings, care proceedings or supervision proceedings for a child or there is an Emergency Protection Order, Care Order or Supervision Order in place.
You can also be exempt from having to attend a MIAM, if you fulfil one of the exceptions outlined in section 13 of the C100 application form, which can be downloaded from www.justice.gov.uk. A few of the main exceptions include:
From April 2014, it is compulsory to attend a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting before making an application for court.
A family mediator must act impartially and avoid any conflict of interest. This means that a mediator must not mediate on a dispute where they have acquired relevant information about the parties. Furthermore, a mediator must remain neutral on the outcome of the mediation. They must not seek to enforce their preferred outcome or influence on any of the parties.
You must also expect the mediator to keep confidential all details obtained during the course of mediation. The mediator cannot even disclose information to the court, without the consent of both participants. The mediators may only disclose information where there are serious allegations of harm to a child or adult.
Mediation is a voluntary process and any session for mediation can be suspended or terminated, if it is felt that the parties are unwilling to fully take part in the process. Mediators must also encourage the participants to consider the wishes and feelings of the children.
Locations Covered: Central London Notting Hill Gate, Ealing Broadway, Southall, Greenford and Greater London