Mediation, collaborative law and ADR

Where appropriate, we encourage clients to use alternative methods of dispute resolution without the need to go to court. Our lawyers' collaborative and mediation skills outside the courts play a key role in reducing the trauma of separation.

Several members of the family team are trained mediators. Often, separating couples are unable to talk to each other to resolve crucial issues relating to their children or financial affairs in a constructive way, even though they would like to reach an agreement. In these situations, skilled mediators can help them reach an understanding and find a solution in a neutral environment.

Following changes to the Court rules in April 2011, a consideration of mediation at a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting ('MIAM') is now a requirement before any financial or children application to the Court is made. Suzanne Kingston of the London team has been a trained mediator for years, including taking referrals from the Court of Appeal mediation scheme, and is able to conduct MIAMs on behalf of clients. Suzanne also conducts training for collaborative lawyers and mediators and will shortly be conducting training in arbitration for family proceedings; another first for family law.

The collaborative approach is based on a series of face-to-face meetings between lawyers and clients. It means the clients themselves remain in control of the process, but can have their lawyers present at their side for legal advice and guidance. Our nine-strong team of collaboratively trained family lawyers are able to help clients reach a fair, negotiated agreement. The lawyers on both sides then jointly draw up the terms which are approved swiftly by the Court and made into an Order; a process pioneered by Suzanne Todd of the London team in the case of S v P.

  

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