Awareness of the benefits of mediation has grown over recent years. With emphasis being placed upon the benefits of reaching agreements without the need for expensive and lengthy court proceedings, people have explored other options to resolve their family law disputes.
The government austerity cuts have meant that there has been a real backlog of work in the family courts and so the delay, as well as the cost and animosity of those court proceedings has meant that combined with the court’s requirement for parties to evidence that they have at least considered mediation as a dispute resolution option has certainly meant that mediation has become a popular choice for many.
Prior to the current health emergency, the usual mediation format would see parties first attend separate Mediation Information and Assessment meetings at our offices, to explore with the mediator whether they each felt that mediation was a viable option before then later attending for a series of joint meetings at the office. Often, we would encourage parties to sit in the same room around a table with the mediator so that the issues that were in dispute could be explored and both parties could have the opportunity to try to introduce options to reach a common way forward. Since the COVID-19 pandemic emerged and the country went into lockdown, these face to face meetings cannot now take place.
As lawyers we have had to quickly adapt to remote hearings and video conferences in order to continue to solve the, often urgent, legal problems that our clients face and there is no reason why a similar approach cannot be taken with mediation. We are able to offer mediation through platforms such as Zoom and Skype and actually we have found that ‘remote mediation’ can be just as successful as face to face mediation.
Whilst the idea of a remote mediation meeting might sound daunting at first, the reality is that it might actually be a really great way of dealing with the issues in dispute and reaching a common way forward quickly and amicably. We can help you to overcome any technical issues, such as how to download Zoom or Skype to your phone or computer and we can remotely meet on an individual basis with you first to explain the mediation process in more detail and to explore whether mediation might assist in your specific circumstances. Only when you are comfortable that you want to enter into the mediation process would the joint meeting go ahead.
Our initial information meetings are a great way to explore the benefits of mediation. The cost of this meeting is £100 plus VAT.