President of NFM, Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom:
National Family Mediation (NFM) services still provide the great bulk of family mediation. This article traces the history of family mediation in general and NFM in particular from the Report of the Finer Committee on One-parent Families in 1974 up to Sustainability of mediation and legal representation in private family law cases: analysis of legal aid administrative datasets in 2011.
The struggle for public acceptance and public funding for family mediation may have been won but with it has come competition from different kinds of mediation provider. The state cannot discriminate between them. So NFM services - like every other provider - have constantly to prove themselves in a rapidly expanding world. The upheaval which is just about to take place in the family justice system, the withdrawal of legal aid from most private family litigation, the setting up family courts and the modernisation of their procedures, will offer new opportunities but also many more challenges.