the process

it's your decision

Mediators do not tell you what to do but help you to make your own informed decisions. Your mediator will give you information about legal matters, how to deal with financial issues, issues relating to children, the court process, court orders, how to contact various other bodies and agencies and obtain professional advice if required.

methodical and productive

The mediation process is straightforward and logical. Whatever the individual circumstances and issues, the same methodical and productive process is followed;

  • Set the agenda - you decide what issues you want to discuss and the sessions are tailored to include these
  • Agree the issues - agreeing which issues to start with gives the process a structure
  • Decide the priority - some issues are more pressing than others and need to be resolved first
  • Set time scales - when pressing issues are resolved, many others are removed or are easier to resolve
  • Clarify the issues - it's not always certain what is in dispute so clarifying this avoids misunderstanding
  • Find the common ground - finding common ground helps reach agreed and informed decisions
  • Obtain information - mediation is open, frank and honest and includes completing financial questionnaires
  • Look at the options - there will be a range of options which need to be reality tested to see if they will work
  • Arrive at the option - the agreed and workable option is the one that will stand the test of time
  • Secure mutually acceptable and agreed proposals - this is a list of all the agreed options for all the issues
  • Document proposals - you will be given a full set of documents which are a record of the agreed proposals

At the end of the mediation process your mediator will inform you how to obtain legal advice upon the proposals and how you may convert this into a legally binding agreement.

5 x 90 minutes

The process does not need to take a long time but it does depend on the range of issues you want to be addressed. You may only need 3 – 5 sessions to reach an agreed set of proposals. Each mediation session lasts 90 minutes and normally there will be a number of days between sessions. Mediation takes weeks rather than months or even years but it really does really depend on what needs to be addressed.


"Mediation already helps thousands of legally-aided people across England and Wales every year, but I am concerned those funding their own court actions are missing out on the benefits it can bring. Now everyone will have the opportunity to see if it could be a better solution than going straight to court."

Justice Minister, Jonathan Djanogly Feb 2011