Mediation

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Mediation is a way of resolving issues directly with the help of a mediator.  Our mediators are also family lawyers and so have a specialised knowledge of the issues involved.  It is a private (confidential) and entirely voluntary process which involves a series of meetings between the couple and a mediator where, together, they try to reach an agreement.  If an agreement is reached it can, potentially, be made binding via a court order, which is something your solicitors would deal with.

Our team of specialist family lawyers includes experienced and accredited family mediators, Charlotte BradleyConnie Atkinson and Lauren Evans, allowing you to choose the right mediator to suit your personal circumstances.  We are able to provide substantive mediation (in relation to financial matters and/or issues relating to children) and we also undertake MIAMs (Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings).

Recent examples of work

  • Mediating a couple, who did not wish to instruct lawyers, to negotiate the division of their £30m assets. The mediator worked with the couple, their accountant and other tax advisors to prepare a tax efficient settlement.
  • Mediating a couple to resolve a financial settlement and arrangements for the children. She worked closely with the couple and at the mediator's suggestion, also with their solicitors, who attended the final mediation sessions.
  • Mediating a couple who were unmarried to agree the financial and parenting arrangements for their two year old child. As the couple relied on the father to support their high standards of living, some mediation sessions took place with members of the couple's extended family and their solicitors.

Frequently asked questions

What type of issues can be mediated?

In short, any issue can be mediated where there is a desire to reach agreement and avoid litigation.  Mediation can relate to finances (e.g. on divorce or separation or following cohabitation) and can also be used for issues relating to arrangements for children. 

Who is the mediator?

Our mediators are also specialist family lawyers although their role, as a mediator, is not to give legal advice but to guide you through the process and assist you in reaching an agreement.  As lawyers we have the benefit of understanding the issues involved and a wealth of experience.  The mediator is instructed by both parties to be impartial and to facilitate the discussion.  Our role is to help you to reach an agreement rather than to advise.  From our experience, mediation tends to work best where each party has taken independent legal advice prior to or during the mediation process but you are under no obligation to instruct solicitors unless you wish to.

Can I be forced to mediate?

No – mediation is a voluntary process and both parties have to agree to attend.  The regulations relating to MIAMs (Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings) mean that in some circumstances you may be obliged to attend a MIAM meeting (either on your own or with your former partner) before you issue a court application.  This is something which we or your solicitors can assist with.  If you attend a MIAM on your own it will likely take approximately 45 minutes.  If you attend together it may take a little longer.  Ultimately, however, you cannot be compelled to mediate with your former partner.  The purpose of a MIAM is to give you information regarding the non-court processes such as mediation and to make an assessment as to whether or not your case would be appropriate for mediation if mediation was something you wanted to explore.

Will we have to be in the same room?

Not necessarily, but our experience shows that mediation works best where you establish a dialogue and are able to discuss the issues directly in a controlled and comfortable environment.  We do everything we can to ensure that the venue is safe, comfortable and the environment non-judgmental.  In most cases, we meet with each of you separately before commencing a meeting together.  In summary the process can be tailored to your needs and what works best for you as a couple. 

Can my solicitor be present?

Yes - solicitors can be present in mediation although this is not usual.   Even if legal advisers are not present, most clients tell us that it is helpful to take legal advice before and between sessions rather than during the mediation itself. If this is something that is of interest we can discuss this with you and your solicitors.

Can other advisers be present, e.g. my accountant?

Yes - if you both agree.  Sometimes this can be helpful if there is a particular issue to be discussed and explored.  Depending on the issues involved a child expert, pension expert, independent financial advisor or accountant could be involved in one or more of the mediation sessions.  It really is a question of what works for you and what is relevant. 

How long does it take?

Each individual mediation session tends to take 1.5 to 2 hours, but we will be guided by you.  Overall, much will depend on the complexity of the issues involved and how readily an agreement is reached.  Some clients resolve matters in a single session whereas most can take a number of sessions to deal with the matters at hand.

What form does the "agreement" take and will it be legally binding?

Any agreement discussed is not binding upon you as it is subject to both of you having independent legal advice. If a proposed agreement is reached the mediator will prepare documentation which sets out the proposed terms of the agreement and provides a clear understanding and record of what has been agreed between you. Should you wish, this can be passed to your solicitor, who can then draft any relevant Court Order or agreement, based on that documentation. If an agreement is made into a Court Order and approved by a Judge, it will at that point become legally binding.  

What happens if we're unable to reach an agreement?

In our experience, the vast majority of people are able to reach an agreement. However, if you are unable to reach an agreement in mediation, you are still able to negotiate directly or via your solicitors and ultimately, you can make an application to the courts or via a privately chosen arbitrator.

How much will it cost?

Various hourly rates apply to our mediators.  We can help you choose the right mediator to suit your personal circumstances.  As a couple you can agree to divide the costs between you or they can be paid by one or either party.

WHAT IS SAID ABOUT US

"It's a team that has a great breadth of experience across the board and particularly in international cases."

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

"I always think of them as having a Rolls-Royce service but they are particularly good when there's a European element to the case."

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

"Very strong litigation practice, with some of the best up-and-coming stars of tomorrow"

Legal 500 UK

"A standout firm"

Legal 500 UK

"Professional yet sympathetic manner and the team always fights hard to defend your interests"

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

 

If you require further information or advice from our team of specialist family lawyers, please contact Charlotte Bradley or a member of our team or call us on +44 (0)20 7814 1200.

"They made a very difficult time much easier to deal with. Their professionalism kept me sane and focused on the outcome I needed"

Client

"It's a team that has a great breadth of experience across the board and particularly in international cases"

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

"All have been excellent and have shown great diligence and practicality, along with sensitivity during a very difficult time in my life"

Client

"Rolls-Royce service and particularly good when there's a European element to the case"

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

"A standout firm"

Legal 500 UK

"Professional yet sympathetic manner and the team always fights hard to defend your interests"

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

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Let us take it from here.

+44 (0)20 7814 1200

enquiries@kingsleynapley.co.uk

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