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Professional organisation and self-regulation in family mediation in England and Wales: Part I: Background (£)

Date:9 SEP 2014
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Family Law

STAN LESTER, Stan Lester Developments, Taunton, UK

While the first family mediation associations were formed in the 1980s, only following the Family Law Act 1996 – with its provisions for legal-aided mediation – did the need for co-ordinated professional oversight begin to emerge. In the same year an attempt was made to set up a self-regulating professional body, the UK College of Family Mediators.

The UK College had limited success, and in 2007 it was replaced by the current structure with the newly-formed Family Mediation Council (FMC) acting as an umbrella body for six associations with family mediator members.

By the beginning of the present decade, the family mediation community had put a number of self-regulatory measures in place, though these were variable in their quality and breadth of coverage and no clear notion of a ‘qualified mediator’ had emerged. The Family Justice Review of 2011 was highly supportive of mediation but also hinted at that an external regulator may be needed if this situation failed to improve. In response the FMC commissioned its own review from Professor John McEldowney of Warwick University, which recommended a number of measures to strengthen its ability to self-regulate.

The full version of this article appears in the September 2014 issue of Family Law.

Online subscribers can access the full article here.