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Family Mediation

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    Update

    The Law Society's family mediation accreditation scheme meets standards that are set by the Family Mediation Council. The Family Mediation Council is working on introducing a new framework for the accreditation of family mediators that will lead to the status of 'Family Mediation Council Accredited Family Mediator' (FMCA) from 1 January 2015. Membership of the Law Society's family mediation accreditation scheme will automatically qualify members for FMCA. Law Society scheme members will continue to be able to carry out:

    • Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAMs), whether privately or publicly funded, and
    • publicly funded mediations

    Publicly funded MIAMs and mediations can only be offered within a Legal Aid Agency-contracted family mediation service.

    What is the Family Mediation Accreditation Scheme?

    The Law Society's family mediation accreditation scheme was first established in 2000. The scheme's aim is to help the public to identify family mediators who have been assessed for competence, and to promote to the public those mediators who have been accredited by the Law Society. The scheme is subject to independent quality assurance.

    Membership of the Law Society's family mediation accreditation scheme qualifies you to carry out Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAMs) and to conduct publicly-funded mediation. Legislation is before Parliament to introduce a mandatory requirement (with some exceptions) to go to a MIAM before any application is made to the courts. Please see the Family Mediation Council website for further information about MIAMs assessment.

    In due course, the government intends to require mediators who work entirely in privately-funded mediation to meet the standard which is required of publicly-funded mediators. This single standard for both publicly-funded and privately funded mediation will continue to be met by the Law Society's family mediation accreditation scheme. Mediators who have not yet completed Law Society accreditation because they do not work with publicly funded clients should consider becoming accredited.

    Accreditation is for five years in the first instance. Requirements for re-accreditation are under discussion and will be developed in tandem with Family Mediation Council requirements as they emerge.

    Who is eligible to apply for membership?

    Membership of the scheme is open to all suitably qualified family mediators, whether or not they are lawyers. There are two routes to membership: passporting and application by portfolio.

    Passporting

    The passporting route is available only to those family mediators who have already been competence assessed under one of the following schemes:

    • the original Legal Services Commission (LSC) scheme
    • the LSC Scheme as previously run by the former UK College of Family Mediators
    • the LSC scheme as previously run by the Family Mediation Council
    • the current Family Mediation Council's Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) scheme.

    Any mediator who has been competence assessed through any of the above routes may join the accreditation scheme.

    The Law Society's accreditation scheme is intended to cover all issues where mediation is appropriate arising from family relationship breakdown, so passporting to the Law Society scheme is available only to those family mediators who have been competence assessed to conduct all-issues mediation.

    Application by the direct portfolio route

    Mediators who have not yet achieved any form of competence assessment may apply on reaching the required level of competence by submitting a portfolio.

    As the accreditation scheme is intended to cover all issues where mediation is appropriate arising from family relationship breakdown, applicants will be required to demonstrate awareness and knowledge of all issues mediation.

    Confirmation of mediation-related CPD and current Professional Practice Consultation supervision will be required.

    Please note that applications for 'General Membership' of the scheme are no longer being accepted.

    Code of practice

    All members of the accreditation scheme are bound by the Family Mediation Council's Code of Practice (PDF 98kb).

    Who's a member?

    To view all current members of our Family Mediation Accreditation Scheme download a list of members (PDF 269kb). This list is updated each month. Members of the public can also search accredited members in their area by postcode through our Find a Solicitor website.

    How do I apply?

    The Law Society provides general scheme application criteria and guidance across all Law Society panels and accreditation schemes. The general scheme application criteria and guidance (PDF 125kb) should be read before starting the application process.

    Competence-assessed family mediators seeking to passport to the Law Society panel should read the guidance.

    For family mediators who have completed foundation training:

    1. Read the Family Mediation Accreditation Scheme Guidance (PDF 187kb) and the passporting guidance (PDF 86kb)
    2. Download and complete the section one form:
      Section 1 - individual and organisation details (Word 41kb)

    3. Download and complete one of the following section two forms, either:
      Section 2 - initial application, practitioner membership, direct development route (Word 127kb)
      , or
      Section 2 - passporting application (Word 61kb)

    4. Check the Law Society Accreditation Scheme fee schedule (PDF 71kb) for fee information.
    5. Print, sign and send the forms with the appropriate fee to:

      Law Society Operations Admin
      The Law Society
      113 Chancery lane
      London
      WC2A 1PL

      DX 56 London Chancery Lane

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  • Further help or support

    If you need any further guidance or support, please contact the Accreditation Unit on:

    Telephone: 0207 320 5797 (lines are open 09:00 - 17:00 Monday to Friday)
    Email: accreditation@
    lawsociety.org.uk