HM Insights

Family law team at Harper Macleod welcomes move to uphold highest standards in family mediation in Scotland

The family law team at Harper Macleod are pleased to receive the Law Society of Scotland's new Code of Conduct and Statement of Principles for Family Mediators, which came into effect on 11 March 2019.

The code and statement apply to all Family Mediators accredited by the Law Society of Scotland, who require to read the code and statement and actively demonstrate their commitment to the principles contained within both.

The code and statement set out the requirements for accreditation and re-accreditation. They also set out key principles and standards designed to uphold the highest standards in mediation practice.

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What is Family Mediation?

Family Mediation is a process which parties choose to enter in to, aimed at assisting people to improve communication between them with a view to addressing issues arising during or after separation or divorce.

The mediator acts as a facilitator, using his or skills and training to enable parties to generate their own solutions. This helps to reduce the level of conflict and stress around separation or divorce.

While it is not always an easy process, research demonstrates that parties who engage in mediation often report higher levels of satisfaction with the outcome than those in similar situations who use different ways of finding solutions.

Key principles

The main principles embodied in the code and statement are:

  • Maintaining independence
  • Working in the interests of the parties
  • Avoiding conflict of interest
  • Maintaining confidentiality
  • Creating a balanced relationship with each of the parties
  • Ensuring the safety of both parties
  • Being concerned for the welfare of children
  • Facilitation of open discussion on a "without prejudice" basis
  • Good communication
  • Fair and reasonable fees
  • Ability to give information (not advice) to parties

Each of these key principles is expanded upon in the Law Society of Scotland's documentation. The overall aim of the is to provide a greater degree of clarity to parties and to family mediators around what people can expect from a family mediator. Whilst these principles have been observed by family mediators for some time, we believe that it is helpful for potential users of mediation services to know exactly what they can expect in terms of service standards.

How we can help

The family law team at Harper Macleod has four family mediators, all of whom are able to assist in our offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, Lerwick or Thurso.

This breadth of mediation experience enables us to co-mediate where appropriate, and also to ensure that the highest practice standards are maintained via our sharing of mediation experience. A reflective approach is encouraged, meaning that our mediators can benefit from the wisdom of each other, whether acquired through continuous training or sharing insights gained through practice.

The Family Law team here at Harper Macleod take our responsibilities to clients seriously. This means making sure that clients are advised of all methods of dispute resolution and are able to discuss the pros and cons of each method before making key decisions at the outset of their cases about the approach to be taken.

If you would like to have a confidential discussion about family mediation, or indeed any other method of resolution, please contact Amanda Masson, Partner and Head of Family Law.