Recent years have seen a steady increase in the number of couples entering mediation. This is due in part to changes in the law, but also a greater awareness amongst members of the public about what mediation is. They find the idea of being in control of their own resolution appealing. They are also attracted by how quickly the process can work, and the cost savings that can be made. Lawyers too have seen the benefits of supporting clients in mediation rather than corresponding with an opposite number. Offering clients a more cost effective solution reflects well on the lawyer and it can save time consuming and unpleasant disputes about fees – especially in cases where the couple have limited assets. It can also represent a more constructive and less stressful way of working.
If we recognise that mediation is now a big player in the world of dispute resolution then we also need to look at how this can be sustained. I don’t think it’s controversial to say that many firms have tended to send more senior lawyers to undertake qualifications in different dispute resolution processes. This has contributed to the current situation where a large number of the 1,500 or so family mediators in England and Wales are likely to retire in the next 5 to 10 years.
There does therefore need to be a concerted effort made to train the next generation of mediators and to ensure they have sufficient support to enable them to develop and flourish into good quality mediators. With the introduction of the Family Mediation Council there is now voluntary regulation within the profession to ensure that the standards of mediation are good and that mediators continually seek to hone and improve their skills.
This is of course a good thing to ensure the professionalism of mediation. It does mean that for a new mediator to train, start to practise and work to achieve accreditation requires a considerable investment in terms of both time and money. All mediators are required to have a Professional Practising Consultant (PPC) to support and mentor them and help them to achieve the holy grail of accreditation, and a flourishing career as a mediator.
I am really excited to have completed the PPC course and to now be able to offer this service to other mediators, alongside my other mediation service. I am passionate about ensuring the future of mediation and I believe that good support, encouragement and education of mediators will play a vital role in this.
If you are thinking about training as a mediator, or have taken the plunge and booked onto a foundation training course then please do get in touch. My approach to being a PPC is going to be to offer the support in a flexible way that helps to support new mediators and to help them grow. I will offer my services at very reasonable rates to ensure that this is affordable. If you would like to chat more about this then please drop me an email, or give me a call.