If you are looking for a constructive and consensual alternative to legal action in court, one option 4PB offers is Family Mediation. It is ideally suited to the settlement of family law disputes. Disputes resolved through mediation may become legally binding agreements, without the need for lengthy, expensive court proceedings

The Nature of Mediation

Parties in family mediation agree to appoint a qualified, experienced family mediator before, or during the course of legal proceedings. If successful, family mediation can avoid any need to attend court. A mediated agreement can easily become a legal consent order – as binding as any court order, but with so much less pain, time and expense to the users, as two of the most significant advantages of family mediation are the relative cost and speed of the process.

Any dispute may be suitable for family mediation, provided the fundamental requirement is met; that all sides have the will to find a solution which both parties can live with. The main advantage of mediation is that the parties maintain control of their family dispute rather than handing their dispute to a stranger (like a judge) who does not know them and cannot fully understand the context of their dispute

Parties are often referred to family mediation by their family lawyers; however, they can approach any mediator directly, and the advantages of having experienced family barristers acting as mediators are obvious.

Mediation can be used in almost every type of family dispute - ranging from abduction to relocation cases (leave to remove) cases, to divorce or separation settlements, ancillary relief and other financial issues, and all children’s issues. Usually, it is hoped that it will take a maximum of four sessions from beginning to end of the mediation process, to reach agreement on all family issues

Like collaborative law, the parties are provided with a forum in which they can resolve their own family disputes. All financial information disclosed during the mediation process can be used in any subsequent litigation in the event of a failed mediation. The parties can set their own pace for family mediation sessions depending on their needs. However, it would be hoped that the mediation process should be finished within three months from start to finish, provided the parties cooperate.Also, like the collaborative law process, the only time a family court is involved is when the parties have reached agreement. At that stage, if there are no pre-existing court proceedings, they can then be initiated with the single purpose of offering the agreement reached as a binding consent order to complete the proceedings.

Here at 4 Paper Buildings, there are currently 20 trained family law mediators including 8 QCs. 4 Paper Buildings also offers a range of other Dispute Resolution Services including Collaborative Law and Early Neutral Evaluation and Arbitration.

We can arrange to co-mediate with other mediators who are qualified as solicitors, counsellors, psychologists and other areas of expertise where this is appropriate. Please ask to speak to one of our mediators if you feel this would be helpful.

To read further information about Mediation and assessment meetings click here


Denise Fallon is our Mediation and ADR Clerk If you have any queries about the mediation services 4PB offers please contact Denise 0207 427 5200