While the first family mediation associations were formed in the 1980s,
only following the Family Law Act 1996 – with its provisions for legal-aided
mediation – did the need for co-ordinated professional oversight begin to
emerge. In the same year an attempt was made to set up a
self-regulating professional body, the UK College of Family Mediators.
The UK College had limited success, and in
2007 it was replaced by the current structure with the newly-formed Family Mediation
Council (FMC) acting as an umbrella body for six associations with family
By the beginning of
the present decade, the family mediation community had put a number of
self-regulatory measures in place, though these were variable in their quality
and breadth of coverage and no clear notion of a ‘qualified mediator’ had
Family Justice Review of
2011 was highly supportive of mediation but also hinted at that an external
regulator may be needed if this situation failed to improve. In response the FMC commissioned its own
review from Professor John McEldowney of
which recommended a number of measures to strengthen its ability to
The full version of this article appears in the September 2014 issue of Family Law.
Online subscribers can access the full article here.