Moves Comes After Growing Client Demand And Government Investment Into Mediation Scheme
To mark Family Mediation Week (17-23 January), Irwin Mitchell has launched its family Mediation Support Service after finding growing demand from clients for ways to keep their divorce or children arrangements out of court.
The new service will focus on giving clients holistic support around the logistics of mediation as well as the key information they need to know, tailored to their individual situation, on how to achieve the best outcome for their split and to keep the situation as amicable as possible.
Support will continue from Irwin Mitchell specialist family lawyers after mediation sessions to decide whether their personal goals have been reached in the mediation or whether they need to go in a different direction, giving clients the confidence they need for their new future.
Irwin Mitchell’s Mediation Support Service utilises the national Family Law team, one of the largest in the country, to tailor clients’ mediation experience according to their needs, also taking into account the ‘soft skills’ needed to make mediations successful.
Expert Opinion“The idea of going to mediation can be really scary for clients: it can be very emotionally charged, especially if the clients have only recently separated. We want to make sure we’re giving practical advice on all of the details as well as the bigger things, like how to handle pensions and finances.
“Helping clients with the ‘non-legal’ parts is just as important, like deciding on the room or what to wear. Even giving clients a pep talk beforehand to put them in the right mind-set can make a massive difference. This is all something our new mediation service will give clients through their entire mediation journey.
“Offering our clients flexible options to explore how their split could turn out without going to court are crucial for our business and for our clients’ happiness, so we’re delighted to be offering this option to them.” Nicola Walker - Partner
The firm’s recent research has found a gap in knowledge with ADR services in family law. A survey by OnePoll, commissioned by Irwin Mitchell last year, in a bid to see how widely known alternative dispute resolution (ADR) was, polled divorcees about their experience and whether they’d managed to stay friends with their ex.
The survey revealed three in 10 divorcees recall ‘lots’ of arguments during their split process, and as such a third regret not using mediation and arbitration services. A quarter (25 per cent) weren’t aware this was even a possible option for them.
The Government has given mediation a further vote of confidence by adding £1.3m to its family mediation voucher scheme, which was first introduced in 2021. Since the scheme launched over 4,400 vouchers have been used, with over three quarters (77 per cent) reaching an agreement outside of court.
Nicola added: “There are so many different types of cases that would benefit from mediation, such as sorting out finances or children arrangements – but at the moment court is the default option.
“Our clients are after ways of facilitating solutions that work for them, instead of dragging their issues through the courts which are already facing delays and funding pressures.
“That’s why we’re launching our Mediation Support Service: because it’s good for families to communicate from the outset, whether it’s the core family or even grandparents and other loved ones, and starting with these conversations instead of jumping to court has been an approach of ours that we’re now formalising.”
You can find out more about our Mediation Support Service here.