Mediation is where you and the person with whom you are having a dispute, can come together to explore common ground, and whether you can reach an agreement. It is usually much cheaper and quicker than going to court.

A mediator will work with you to assist you both in trying to reach a consensus of opinion. The mediator does not make the decisions for you, but will try and keep you focussed on the important things, and will help you to discuss things that are bothering you more easily.

Vicky Medd is our Mediator. Vicky has been a family solicitor for over 20 years, and trained as a mediator in 2003. She is a professional practice consultant, which means that she supervises and assists other mediators. Vicky is a member of the Family Mediators Association, and is a complaints adjudicator for that body.

How does family mediation work?

Please also see our mediation process flow chart below this FAQ section.

If you want to participate in mediation, you can contact us yourself, and we will take names, addresses, telephone numbers and dates of birth of both potential participants in mediation. We then write and offer you an appointment – a mediation information and assessment meeting (MIAM). The other person will not be at the same appointment.

At this appointment we will find out a little more about your relationship with the other person, and find out a little bit about what the dispute is about. We find out if there are any reasons why mediation isn’t such a good idea for you, and we assess you for legal aid.

We conduct a similar meeting with the other person.

If Vicky assesses the case as suitable for mediation, and you are both willing to mediate, the next meeting is usually a joint one.

These sessions last approximately 1 hour and at the end of each session, Vicky will write to you both with a summary of the discussions and a date for the next appointment.

Do we have to be in the same room together?

When you have your separate meeting with Vicky, she will be exploring what sort of relationship you have with the other participant, and whether there are any concerns of either of you about being in the same room. These will be discussed with Vicky. If she thinks it appropriate, Vicky can offer “shuttle” mediation, where the participants in mediation are in different rooms and Vicky shuttles between the two rooms. Clearly there are positives and negatives which Vicky will discuss with you at the meeting.

Can I get legal aid for mediation?

We do have a mediation contract with the Legal Aid Agency, so we can offer Legal Aid, if people qualify. If you want to be assessed for legal aid, you will have to bring very specific information to your appointment, and this will be sent out in a letter to you. If you are not sure that you will qualify, please use the legal aid calculator – here is the link. https://www.gov.uk/check-legal-aid

I don’t think I’ll get legal aid – how much does mediation cost?

For each (mediation information and assessment meeting) MIAM, the cost is £120 inclusive of VAT per person, per meeting.

For each session of mediation, the cost is £180 per session per person.

If the other participant in mediation does qualify for legal aid, then you will get your MIAM free, and the first session of mediation free also.

The other person in mediation has been violent to me – does this mean mediation can’t take place?

Not necessarily. Vicky will assess the suitability of the case for mediation at the initial meeting – MIAM. If you are worried, please speak to your solicitor, if you have one, or attend your MIAM, and speak to Vicky about it.

I’ve heard that you have to go to mediation to get to court – is that true?

In family cases, the court usually expects that you will have attended the MIAM. There are some exceptions to this, but that is the usual rule. However, you can not be made to attend for the joint sessions if you do not want to. This is because mediation is voluntary for all concerned.

Equally, if the other person fails to attend their MIAM, because mediation is voluntary, the Court will not think badly of the other person, but may suggest trying mediation as it is a much quicker and cheaper way of resolving disputes.

Is mediation confidential?

The mediation process is confidential but there are some exceptions. The first is that if harm is being done to an adult, or a child through the process, then Vicky is under a duty to report that to either the police or social services. The second is that there are audits carried out by the Legal Aid Agency and by Lexcel, and your file is made available to them for audit purposes.

If mediation breaks down, can I ask the mediator to be a witness?

No. The mediator is impartial and not there to take sides. The mediation process is privileged, which means the process can not be talked about in court. This is to give you both the opportunity of speaking freely, without fear of repercussions. Vicky will ask you to sign an agreement that will say that you will not ask Vicky to go to court, as this prejudices Vicky’s position as someone neutral and not able to take sides.

Are agreements reached in mediation legally binding?

No. However financial agreements can be embodied into a court order within divorce or judicial separation proceedings fairly easily, and written agreements based upon the discussions in mediation can be prepared about children. At the end of mediation, if it has been successful, Vicky will prepare a memorandum of understanding, which is her understanding of the agreement reached in mediation. The other participants in the mediation do not sign that document.

If I go to mediation, do I need a solicitor?

Vicky recommends that you seek advice from a solicitor, as Vicky is not there to give legal advice. Vicky can give you legal information, but can not advise either of you on which you should do as the decisions in mediation remain your own.

How long does mediation take?

Here at Ridley & Hall, we try to offer you a MIAM within 10 working days. After we have seen both of you, we can generally offer a mediation within a couple of weeks, although this is subject to everyone being available at the right time. After that it really is down to the clients. In a financial case, clients may want to wait until they have all the information that they need, and this can sometimes take a while. In a children case, clients may have decided to give an arrangement a try, and see if it works, and may need some time to do that. On other occasions, a dispute may be urgent, so clients want the case in sooner. It really does depend on you and the other person, and your availability and the availability of the mediator.

Do I have to go to mediation?

No, mediation is entirely voluntary. You do not have to attend if you do not feel that it is appropriate. You can not be forced into mediation. If you want to make an application to court, you may have to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) before you can issue your application. This is because the court wants to make sure that you have tried to resolve your dispute without court before you issue your application. Also, the courts, in cases involving children, can order you to attend the MIAM. The court can not make you mediate.

Often, people are worried about being in the same room as their former partner. The mediator is there to help you to try and focus on finding a resolution to your dispute, so they help you to try and look at your dispute differently, or behave differently towards each other. This can be hard, and the mediator is there to try and support you, and assist you in reaching an outcome that works for you both.

My ex will not come to mediation, why do I have to come for the first appointment?

Often, when in discussions, clients will say that they are not attending their MIAM. However, quite often they do turn up. It is important to find out more about mediation, and how it will work in each case. If you do not attend you will not receive the form that will enable you to make an application to court. But it is a matter for you. Please telephone to cancel if you are not intending to come for your appointment.

I don’t think that my ex is prepared to compromise. How will that work in mediation?

When we meet both clients at MIAM, the mediator has a conversation with them both about the fact that they will be expected to come to mediation with a willingness to compromise and a willingness to listen to the other person. Until the mediator gets both clients in a room together, it is difficult to gauge whether this will happen. Quite often, clients start in very fixed positions, but after discussions in mediation, they are prepared to move. If discussions are not fruitful, the mediator would stop the mediation, and send the forms out to clients to make applications to court if necessary.

How long does mediation take?

Here at Ridley & Hall, we try to offer you a MIAM within 10 working days. After we have seen both of you, we can generally offer a mediation within a couple of weeks, although this is subject to everyone being available at the right time. After that it really is down to the clients. In a financial case, clients may want to wait until they have all the information that they need, and this can sometimes take a while. In a children case, clients may have decided to give an arrangement a try, and see if it works, and may need some time to do that. On other occasions, a dispute may be urgent, so clients want the case in sooner. It really does depend on you and the other person, and your availability and the availability of the mediator.

The Mediation Process

  • Contact Us

    Self referral • Call us on 01484 538421 and ask for a member of the mediation team. • Visit our offices - Queens House, 35 Market Street, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire HD1 2HL • You will need to provide the names, addresses, dates of birth, telephone numbers and (if you have them) email addresses of yourself and the other person that you have a dispute with. Solicitor referral • Your solicitor will contact our mediation team with all the necessary contact information, we will then write to you offering you a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting.

  • Mediation Information Assessment Meeting

    You will usually attend this appointment alone . Information about mediation will be provided to you. Find out whether mediation will be appropriate and whether it is something you are interested in, as well as being given information about alternatives to court. Eligibility for legal aid will be assessed. £120 inclusive of VAT per person, per meeting.unless you qualify for legal aid in which case you will

  • Mediation Session/s

    If your dispute is suitable for mediation you will be offered a joint mediation session. You will usually be in the same room as the other person however, if it is appropriate shuttle mediation can be arranged for people who do not wish to be in the same room to mediate. The number of mediation sessions needed will depend entirely on the dispute. £180 inclusive of VAT per person, per session.

  • Successful Mediation

    If mediation has been successful your agreement will be drafted into what a Memorandum of Understanding. The agreement that has been reached is not legally binding, however financial agreements can be embodied into a court order within divorce or judicial separation proceedings fairly easily, and written agreements based upon the discussions in mediation can be prepared about children.