Support For Mediation At The FMA Conference
The Honorable Mr Justice Moylan opened day two of the Family Mediators Association’s conference on the 30th September 2021, sharing this: “You would not find judges who consider that litigation should be the first choice. It should be the last choice. I appreciate that this is easier to say than achieve. We want the number of families who choose to go to court to reduce significantly … not because the courts are overwhelmed with work but because alternative forms of solution in particular those achieved through mediation are nearly always better for families than court imposed solutions.”
He went on to discuss how, perhaps despite litigants hopes or expectations, the court just imposes outcomes – it doesn’t have the opportunity in most situations to consider deeper resolutions nor ask the parties to reflect, the court simply can’t engage with families in the way that a mediator can which is why judges really support mediation.
This, as we were reminded in mediator, Helen Adam’s John Cornwell lecture, the same day, echoes what so many have said and including the President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane: “those of us working in the system long for a better way of helping children, of helping parents to resolve what are, in effect relationship difficulties when they break up … there are sadly many children, many parents, who need protection from harm and they rightly turn to the court and hopefully get the protection and priority in our system there. But very many don’t have those sad needs. They just become stuck in sorting out the difficulties that they have as adult parents in making arrangements for their children. It can’t be right that a court system is needed to sort out arrangements for children.”
These are challenging times but there are considerable numbers of wise and able people coming together to try to achieve the improvements that those separating need from the services designed to help. We all aim to provide those approaching us with the right service for the issues that need solutions. We hope that with skill and experience we will get it right for our clients and their families.