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What is Mediation?

Mediation is a voluntary process that brings together opposite sides in a dispute to help them arrive at their own decisions regarding their issues, on an informed basis with an understanding, so far as reasonably practicable, of the implications and consequences of such decisions for themselves and any children involved. This can be spouses contemplating divorce, separating parents deciding on the future arrangements for their children or unmarried couples who own assets together. Mediation takes place in an informal and confidential environment. To work both parties must agree to engage in the process. The mediator is impartial and neutral. They provide information only and no tailored legal advice although they can provide general legal information about the law and how the court deals with certain issues. A real benefit of mediation is the opportunity to look creatively at how a problem or issue can be resolved. The right mediator will find the best approach for the parties and their specific dispute. Discussions conducted in mediation about possible terms of settlement are on a confidential basis and remain so after mediation has concluded. This means that they cannot be referred to by either person in any subsequent court proceedings should mediation break down. This allows each person to explore their options freely without the worry of being legally bound by those discussions. There are some exceptions to confidentiality if the mediator believes that any child or any other person affected by the mediation is suffering of likely to suffer significant harm – in these circumstances the mediator is bound to make a referral to an outside agency. Since April 2011 anyone wishing to issue court proceedings in family cases will have to show that they have considered mediation and alternative ways of resolving their dispute before resorting to the court. There are some specific exceptions such as where there has been domestic violence.

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For further information please contact

Trudi leads the Divorce and Matrimonial Finance Team and has been a partner at Goodman Ray since May 2000 as head…
Tom is a solicitor and a mediator in Goodman Ray’s Divorce and Matrimonial Finance Department, and a member of Resolution. He s…
Alex is head of specialist family law barristers Chambers, 4 Paper Buildings and sits as a Deputy High Court Judge. He is recom…

Initial Assessment (MIAMs)

The initial assessment for mediation is known as a Mediation Information and Asessment Meeting (MIAM). This is undertaken by a mediator who will meet the parties (this can be together or individually) and assess whether mediation is appropriate for that particular dispute.

Goodman Ray has its own in-house mediation service operating independently of our legal practice. Here you can find out more about mediation, what it can offer you and how it can help you to resolve legal disputes. If you would like to speak to a mediator please call us on 020 7608 1227 or fill in the contact form and we will contact you.

If you would like to make an appointment please complete the appropriate form below and return it to us by post or email to mediation@goodmanray.com.

Click here to download a MIAM referral form

Click here to download a mediation referral form

Currently we only undertake privately paying mediation.

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For further information please contact

Trudi leads the Divorce and Matrimonial Finance Team and has been a partner at Goodman Ray since May 2000 as head…
Tom is a solicitor and a mediator in Goodman Ray’s Divorce and Matrimonial Finance Department, and a member of Resolution. He s…
Alex is head of specialist family law barristers Chambers, 4 Paper Buildings and sits as a Deputy High Court Judge. He is recom…

Procedure

For some people mediation can provide a great opportunity to actively resolve disputes and reach workable solutions themselves, with the help of an independent mediator. Mediation is not to help people reconcile or get back together. It provides a process where people in dispute can work with a mediator to reach resolution and identify solutions that are right for them and their family. One major advantage of mediation is that it helps people to reach an early settlement, usually on good terms, factoring in legal costs and the emotional impact on the adults and children involved. In order for mediation to be successful there must be transparency of the information from both sides.

In financial disputes both parties will be required to provide full and frank financial disclosure to each other and the mediator so that a fair agreement can be reached. If the information given is not full and accurate, any agreement reached may be set aside. All information material to financial issues must be provided on an open basis, so that it can be referred to in court, either in support of an application made with the consent of the parties or in contested proceedings. This differs from the discussions about possible settlement terms which remain confidential.
The initial meeting will be used to identify the issues in dispute that both parties wish to discuss. The mediator will then identify what further information needs to be disclosed before discussions can take place. In financial cases this will typically involve both parties completing a full financial disclosure form. The mediator will then prepare an open financial statement which will record the financial disclosure of the parties.

The number of sessions required and the length of time it will take to conclude matters will depend on the complexity of the issues and whether all of the necessary information is available. To settle a simple case over children, sometimes two mediation sessions can be enough. For financial cases it may take six or seven mediation sessions or even longer depending on the complexity.
If mediation is successful and the parties reach an agreement, the mediator will prepare a memorandum of understanding reflecting the agreement for the parties to take away. This memorandum is not legally binding, and in some cases (e.g. financial agreements) will need to be converted into a legal document to be approved by the court to become legally binding on the parties.

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For further information please contact

Trudi leads the Divorce and Matrimonial Finance Team and has been a partner at Goodman Ray since May 2000 as head…
Tom is a solicitor and a mediator in Goodman Ray’s Divorce and Matrimonial Finance Department, and a member of Resolution. He s…
Alex is head of specialist family law barristers Chambers, 4 Paper Buildings and sits as a Deputy High Court Judge. He is recom…

Collaborative Law

Collaborative law provides couples with a way of resolving issues without having to go to court.

Under the collaborative law process each person appoints their own collaboratively trained lawyer and the parties and their respective collaborative lawyers meet together to discuss issues face to face in four way meetings. It is a process that enables separating or divorcing couples to resolve issues in a non-confrontational way through open discussion, whilst being supported by their lawyers. The collaborative law process can be used to resolve all aspects of the divorce or separation including financial and children issues.

Both parties must sign an agreement (known as a participation agreement) in which they confirm that they will do all they can to resolve matters without going to court. The agreement prevents the appointed collaborative lawyer from representing the party in court if the collaborative process breaks down. This means that both parties are absolutely committed to finding the best solutions by agreement, rather than through court proceedings. The approach is client centred, and can often help to build better communication which will assist the parties in the future.

Our collaborative lawyers are all specifically trained in the collaborative approach and are capable of promoting solution focused negotiation.

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For further information please contact our collaborative lawyers

Trudi leads the Divorce and Matrimonial Finance Team and has been a partner at Goodman Ray since May 2000 as head…
Ann Thompson has been a qualified solicitor since 1992 having originally trained and worked as a barrister. Ann Thompson joined…