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“What goes on behind doors….” Family Mediation keeps it confidential.

19th April 2021 by Gemma Burden

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A recent court case has re-affirmed that in most cases Mediation notes or a Mediation Summary cannot be used as evidence in court proceedings.

The confidentiality of the mediation discussions is central to the mediation process and one of the reasons why mediation works in so many cases.  Parties to mediation are able to explore options and consider compromises without the fear that they might say the wrong thing or that a tentative discussions might later be held against them in court.

The court case involved the father seeking to include details of discussions had in mediation, as well as an order for the mediator’s notes, to be disclosed and for a witness statement to be filed by the mediator.

The father’s application in relation to the above issues failed.

The court recognised the confidential nature of the mediation discussions and went to great lengths to re-iterate the reasons why that confidentiality needed to be upheld;

  • to preserve the benefits that mediation offers and
  • to enable mediators to carry out the valuable work that they undertake

It is pleasing that the court were able to understand the importance of the confidentiality principle and the terms of the Agreement to Mediate, which clients are asked to sign up to before mediation begins.  It is indicative of the growing awareness of the benefits of mediation and the important role that it has within the family justice system.

An exploration of the issues and options to reach a compromise are far more likely in a confidential setting as opposed to one where every statement made becomes ammunition to build a case against the other parent.  Mediation encourages co-operation, open-mindedness and problem solving and confidential discussions are key to achieving that outcome.

Laceys Mediation have offices based in Bournemouth Poole and Southampton. If you would like any further advice on mediation please contact our Mediation department on 01202 377993 or g.burden@laceyssolicitors.co.uk who will be happy to help.

Gemma Burden

Partner — Mediation

Direct dial: 01202 377827

Email

Gemma Burden, head of Family Mediation, Laceys Solicitors
  • “As it was mediation for divorce I was worried just how complicated it would be but it was all handled well by Gemma who put my mind at ease and explained everything well. Thank you. ”

    John Littlefield

  • “Gemma was able to help us narrow the issues between us so we could focus on resolution. I feel she treated us both equally and professionally.”

    Maria Vine

  • “Gemma seemed to quickly understand our situation and acted accordingly and in what I felt with best interest.”

    Charlotte

  • “I was very happy with Gemma Burden. She was very clear and to the point. Gemma Burden was very good at staying neutral. This must be very hard sometimes. She is very professional and is very good at explaining all points in mediation. I would recommend Laceys Mediation to all. I would give Gemma Burden top marks in all aspects of mediation and she has my thanks.”

    Anonymous

  • “Having used Laceys before, it was an easy choice to use them again. Gemma was professional, polite and thorough. An absolute credit to the company.”

    A Wood

Gemma is the head of our mediation department and a Family Mediation Council Accredited lawyer mediator. Gemma qualified as a solicitor in 2000 and joined Laceys in 2001. She has specialised in family law since qualifying as a solicitor and has worked full time as a mediator since 2009.

Gemma is qualified in all areas of family mediation, including divorce and financial settlements, child arrangements and property disputes between cohabitees.  She is also qualified to see children as part of the mediation process.  Gemma is able to draw on her legal expertise when helping couples work out complex financial settlements and new parenting arrangements.

In her spare time Gemma likes to spend time with her family, especially her dog who never answers back.  Her chosen stress beaters are running, swimming and the beach.

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