"I’m so glad that you’re publishing a new edition of your book. It is far and away the best work on family mediation available"Henry Brown
Mediator Co-Founder and Vice-President of the Family Mediators Association
Phillip Taylor MBE
"no professional adviser in family disputes should be without ... essential reading"
The Children and Families Act 2014 has been described as the largest family justice reform for a decade, bringing fresh opportunities and challenges both for newly trained and experienced family mediators and for legal advisers.
In explaining non-court dispute resolution processes and in managing the mediation process carefully, mediators need awareness, empathy and a high level of knowledge and skills.
Lisa Parkinson’s definitive mediation textbook has been brought up to date to incorporate new developments in Family Justice and in mediation theory and practice. It is an authoritative and practical guide which not only explains the principles and process of family mediation but also places it in the context of a changing family justice system and its interaction with other professionals and processes.
The text is supplemented by appendices containing key sample documentation.
As such it remains the authoritative book in its subject area and essential reading for all mediators.
Read some articles on familylaw.co.uk by Lisa here
- Mediation and the management of conflict
- Family mediation - theoretical frameworks
- Considering mediation and assessing suitability
- Designing mediation models
- Navigating through mediation
- Communication skills in mediation
- Child-focused mediation
- Child-inclusive mediation
- Mediating on money matters
- Managing power imbalances in mediation
- Dealing with deadlocks
- Skills in ending mediation
- Research on family mediation
- Becoming a family mediator
- International family mediation and future directions
"all of us who work in the system need a comprehensive understanding of family mediation, the practice of which is far more complex and multi-faceted ... we will need a vademecum. It will be Lisa Parkinson's book"Nicholas Wilson, Lord Justice of Appeal, President of the Family Mediators Association
"I have consistently recommended Lisa Parkinson's book as the definitive work on family mediation. I'm delighted that she has produced a 2nd edition"Henry Brown, Mediator Co-Founder and Vice-President of the Family Mediators Association
"translated into five European languages ... a significant indicator of the book's value and success if ever we saw one! if you are professionally involved in family mediation, or you aspire to be, you seriously need the latest edition of this definitive work ... an excellent guide" ... read more (2nd edition) Watch the review on YouTube. "no professional adviser in family disputes should be without ... essential reading in an area where mediation and legal processes almost invariably intersect ...Throughout its more than 500 pages, the book takes the reader through the full spectrum of procedures and processes involved in family mediation, from management of conflict and communications skills, to mediating on money matters … dealing with deadlocks ... conducting international mediation … and of course, a lot more ... useful ... Practitioners and advisers, judges and researchers, as well as mediators will appreciate the invaluable help offered by this book in helping them meet the challenge of change within the family justice system ..." read more (3rd edition) Watch the review on YouTube.Phillip Taylor MBE
Elizabeth Walsh, Solicitor and Mediator
"a must ... comprehensive and compelling ...This book is not just for mediators: it is essential reading for all practitioners and judiciary in the family justice system"
“invaluable and indispensable … the second edition is even more comprehensive and compelling … a testament to the enduring and evolving interdisciplinary model of mediation … I recommend this book to: Experienced mediators to remind them of and reinforce their skill base; aspiring mediators for the basic building blocks; lawyers and anyone else who wants to know what family mediation is really all about; anyone interested in family mediation in the current changing climate ..." read moreJane Staff, Family Lawyer and Mediator, North Staffordshire
"Why go to the bother of reading an English book on the subject? The answer becomes clear when you read it ... describes how referral to mediation works in practice and how the essential principles of mediation are maintained ... I recommend this book to all mediation trainers and experienced family mediators. I should be very glad if German lawyers, who have tended to steer clear of mediation, would refer their clients to mediation more readily, encouraged by the convincing evidence in this book of mediation's value and effectiveness …" read moreChristoph C. Paul, Lawyer; Mediator, Berlin
Translated from the German review published in “Zeitschrift für Konflikt-Management”, vol. 5/2011, September/October 2011, p. 160
"a must read ... the text has already been translated into 5 languages, making it a global reference for professionals at every stage of their professional development and practice ... In conclusion, Lisa Parkinson’s book has amply covered the theory and practice of mediation ... its content is informative and relevant ... an essential reference guide ... highly recommend ..." read moreRoisin O'Neill, Mediator
“The 1st edition of this book was published in 1997 when FM was first about to achieve legislative recognition and some public funding. It became an instant classic. In 2011 assessment for FM suitability became generally obligatory – and this second edition will be granted the same status as its predecessor”Chris Barton, Emeritus Professor of Family Law and a Vice-President of the Family Mediators AssociationVol. 34, No, 1, March 2012, 137-139
"What makes Family Mediation particularly useful is its multi‐disciplinary approach. It is rare to find a mediation book that doesn’t have at least a slight bias in terms of content based on the author’s profession of origin, be that as a social worker, lawyer or psychotherapist ... I can only recommend this book, not just because I respect and admire its author so much but because it manages to be a practical handbook for mediators at the same time as being a textbook for scholars and professionals ... " read moreSabine Walsh, www.kluwermediationblog.com
The Children and Families Act 2014 is focusingmore attention on the role of family mediation in the family justice system.Family mediators have been given greater responsibility to encourageconsideration of non-court dispute resolution processes before application ismade to the family court, and to assess the suitability of mediation inparticular circumstances. In explaining non-court dispute resolution and inmanaging the mediation process appropriately, family mediators need to combineawareness, empathy and a high level of knowledge and skills.
The nature andscope of the mediation process and requirements for practice have come undersharper scrutiny. Following the recommendations of the Family Justice Review,the McEldowney Report and the Scoping Study led by Dr Stan Lester, the FamilyMediation Council has issued revised standards and requirements that cover manyaspects of family mediators' training, supervision, accreditation andprofessional development. Writing about the development of family mediation in the context ofthese evolving systems is like painting a Forth Bridge that keeps gettinglonger, or as Angela Lake-Carroll remarked, ‘painting the Forth Bridge while anearthquake is going on underneath!'
This edition is more than an update of theprevious one, because this is a time of major change in the whole familyjustice system and in the provision and regulation of family mediation. Despitethe major setbacks resulting from LASPO, there are fresh challenges and opportunities.
Recent research findings, in particular the Mapping Paths to FamilyJustice study, show the need for greater flexibility in designing disputeresolution processes and approaches that cater for different needs. Astandardised model of family mediation cannot possibly meet the diverse needsof couples and family members from different cultural backgrounds who come tomediation at different stages of separation or divorce or other family crisis,in widely varying circumstances. If the mediation process is not tailored totheir circumstances and needs, it is likely to break down, if it starts at all.Mediators need to make careful assessments of mediation's suitability,manage different levels of conflict and provide facilities and skills for differentconstellations of family members.
Recent experience shows that while adheringto the basic principles ofmediation, a range of approaches can be developed for different stages andlevels of conflict, not only in private family law disputes but also in otherareas, including some public law child cases and hybrid family/civil cases.
Mediation tends to be seenas a problem-solving process, but family problems are complex and solutionsrarely simple. Mediators learn from hard-won experience and from other sourcesof insight. Non-scientists like me can see parallels between mediation andchaos theory and the relatively new science of complexity theory whichdistinguishes between simple and complex systems.
The family justice system is putting greateremphasis on private ordering, with clear expectations that most separating anddivorcing couples will resolve issues themselves, with the help of mediatorswhere needed. However, as shown in the chapter on family mediation research,there can be risks and disadvantages in private ordering, as well assignificant benefits when it is suitable and practised well. With the trend away fromcourt-dispensed justice towards participative decision-making and collaborativepractice, we may find, like the pianist and conductor, Daniel Barenboim,co-creator of the West–Eastern Divan orchestra, that ‘the inclusion of all parties in a dialogue … is not a guarantee forperfect harmony, but it creates the conditions necessary for co-operation’. Barenboim also reminds us that‘spontaneous realisation’ is possibleonly with ‘all the repetitions and thefamiliarity resulting from intense study'.Mediation practice can beenhanced by better understanding of different systems of thinking – intuitive andanalytical, fast and slow - and even by comparing the structure of mediation with musicalstructures.
Communication needs language that is imaginative, as well as clear.Poetry and visual arts help us to see with fresh vision, while evenlimited scientific knowledge can help us to make new connections in useful andpractical ways.
Mediation experience over several decades showsthat a great deal remains to be explored and considered. There is greaterrecognition of the need to listen to children and young people in helpingparents to make arrangements that take account of their children's needs,feelings and ideas, without putting pressure on the child. Exchanges with colleagues in other countries enrich our owndeveloping practice. I have been very fortunate in having opportunities to takepart in conferences and training workshops in many countries, from the FrenchWest Indies to Canada and the United States, South Africa, Russia andKazakhstan and European countries. Irrespective of culture and language,mediators all over the world find that they have the same spirit and shareintuitive understanding. A global network of mediators is needed to developinternational family mediation in relocation disputes and child abductioncases, using mediators specially qualified in this field. The Hague Conference Guide to Good Practiceon Mediation in the context of the 1980 Child Abduction Convention was published in 2012, whileInternational Social Service has recently published a guide to internationalfamily mediation for parents and professionals.
This new edition is designed primarily forfamily mediators in England and Wales, whether they are highly experiencedpractitioners or those embarking on training. I hope it will also be ofinterest to members of other professions who work with families within oroutside the family justice system, as well as to family mediators in otherjurisdictions. At a time of bitter struggles and conflicts in many parts of theworld, we need negotiators, peace-makers and young people who are trained inconflict resolution, not in waging war. May this book, in however small a way,stimulate reflection and discussion, offer some fresh thinking and encouragethe co-operative search for conflict resolution that all mediators endeavour tosupport.
FROM THE 2ND EDITION
The 1st edition of this book, published by Sweet & Maxwell in 1997, was written when family mediation was on the verge of achieving its first recognition in legislation and limited provision for public funding through the legal aid system. This breakthrough came after nearly twenty years of vigorous campaigning by pioneer family mediation services. I am grateful to Jordans Publishing Ltd for giving me this opportunity for a 2nd edition (with Sweet & Maxwell’s support), at a time when family mediation is reaching another critical turning point in its evolution. In 2011, with the new Family Procedure Rules coming into force in April and the prospect of further change following the Family Justice Review, family mediation faces new challenges and opportunities. Some of these changes may be controversial and mediators will be on their mettle to demonstrate that they are effective practitioners, not ideological dreamers. There are questions to be addressed, standards for training and practice to be further defined and regulated and new models to develop in collaborative, multi-disciplinary partnerships.
This edition sets out to be more than just an update of the first one. Until 1996, family mediation was outside the family justice system and seen by many as a fringe service for mainly middle class, middle income clients. Even after publicly funded mediation was made available in the legal aid sector from 1997 onwards, it continued to be a small side-stream alongside the main flow of private family law proceedings. Now mediation is entering the main stream, while retaining its identity as an independent and voluntary process of Appropriate Dispute Resolution. The role of family mediation is being strengthened not only to help family members resolve disputes outside the legal system, but also in a new system of family justice in which ‘participative justice’ is destined to play a much greater part. Participative justice enables people to maintain their autonomy in reaching legally informed agreements that can be made enforceable when necessary through an order of the Court. Family mediation, together with other forms of Appropriate Dispute Resolution including collaborative law and hybrid civil/family mediation, is part of an evolving system of family justice that may be shifting from a traditional adversarial system to one that is far more inquisitorial and participative.
This is therefore an opportune time to consider the role that family mediation can play, to reflect on experiences of mediation from mediators and clients over more than thirty years, to take note of research findings and to look to the future. There is now much greater recognition of the need to listen to children’s views and feelings and to provide ways of communicating with children as well as adults in helping parents to reach agreements that incorporate understanding of the voice of the child.
Over the last two decades, family mediation has developed in many European countries, as well as in the UK. Exchanges with mediators and researchers in other countries enrich our own developing practice. Having a particular love of languages and travel, I have benefited from wonderful experiences of training and co-training in other countries, from Russia and Lithuania to the French Antilles and the Indian Ocean. This international network is of great value in developing international cross-border family mediation in private law proceedings over children. The Hague Conference is developing a Guide to Good Practice for international family mediation, while the European Union is funding projects to develop specialised training in this emerging and complex field. These subjects were barely on family mediators’ radar in 1997.
I hope this book will be of interest to family mediators both in training and with experience, and also to students in other disciplines and members of other professions who have an interest in mediation and ADR. It is very much a shared endeavour that has grown through continuously thought-provoking and enjoyable co-mediating and co-training with colleagues in England, Wales and Scotland, and in other countries. There are many innovative developments that lie beyond its scope and which need exploration by other writers. I hope that anyone who glances at the book will find something in it that may catch your attention, suggest different ways of looking at things and encourage you to express your own ideas. This is, after all, what mediators seek to do.
Lord Wilson’s 2011 comments on the second edition were, as always, remarkably prescient. The ‘Blue Skies’ we anticipated for family mediation have proved to be, for many mediators, turning from grey to black. The unintended consequences of the savage cuts to legal aid are still working through the system; the impressive energy with which Simon Hughes, Minister for Justice, has tried to promote mediation and services for unrepresented or ill-advised litigants has not yet produced either the coherence or the resources which the system so sadly lacks. We may be, as the President of the Family Division has said, ‘on the cusp of history’, and it would be ungrateful in the extreme not to acknowledge the value of new legislation and regulation in attempting to promote a more holistic, co-operative vision of family justice. Nevertheless, the execution of this vision has been partial and especially challenging for the family mediator, and a third edition of Lisa’s book is essential to revisit the context in which we now work and to start to explore how we might respond to these challenges.
This third edition is bigger and better. It reflects the deep conversations Lisa continues to promote across the mediation world, and the lateral thoughts with which she so often illuminates those dialogues. It reflects the changes in legal context, in assessment practice, in standards reform and in funding; it encompasses the most current thinking and research into dispute resolution. It meets the needs of novice and experienced practitioner alike as well as providing an overview for the academic and the interested observer. We are told that the Family Justice System in England and Wales has been ‘redefined’ by the changes of April 2014; the question for ‘family peace-builders’ is whether mediation has also been ‘redefined’ and, if so, for better or worse. The revisions in this edition start to address those questions and suggest some provisional answers.
As a trainer, mediator and consultant, I am unapologetic about my advocacy for this book, which is used as the core textbook on Family Mediators Association foundation courses and recommended by so many other organisations and individuals. This is because it embodies the core skill of the mediator, which is to turn fundamental principles and frameworks into a creative, humane and innovative space with the potential to transform relationships. It is the ‘Bible’ that family mediators carry with them, not because it provides easy answers, but because it promotes fresh thinking.
Professor Neil Robinson
FROM THE 2ND EDITION
The first edition of this book was published in 1997. By then family mediation in Britain had for nearly twenty years been developing a limited public identity; and throughout that period Lisa Parkinson had been a central figure (arguably even the central figure) in its development.
The depth of the author’s experience of family mediation even by then; the level of her intellectual energy; her way with words; her breadth of vision; but above all her skill in communicating with different sorts of people (and in communicating how to communicate): all these qualities were likely to make the book an immediate success. But few could have forecast the level of its success. Reviewers wrote that it fizzed with good ideas; was packed with nuggets, all gold; brimmed with sheer quality; and was the most fitting text for any aspiring mediator. In the light of its necessary relationship with the family law and procedure of England and Wales it is in a way astonishing that the book was nevertheless chosen for translation into Russian, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish and Slovenian.
But it was in part its nexus with our family law and procedure at that time which has rendered the first edition – still in print – seriously out of date. It had been published a year after the enactment of the Family Law Act 1996 and in the expectation that all of it would soon be brought into force. Both expressly and by necessary implication a greatly increased role for mediation was written across much of the Act. In the book Lisa Parkinson addressed it all at length but, with typical prescience, questioned whether the new path to divorce there laid would prove too long and tortuous. In the event, of course, neither Part I nor Part II was brought into force at all.
There was, however, one Part of the Act – Part III – which did come into force; which has survived in a replaced form; and which was to have important consequences for the role of family mediation. Section 29 required most applicants for public funding for proposed applications to the court in private family law matters first to have attended an assessment for suitability for mediation; and public funding was made available for a mediator to conduct the assessment. If, as quite often occurred, mediation then followed, further public funding was made available for it. But, even when it did not follow, the process of assessment brought the possibility of mediation to the attention of one if not both of the parties and, in that it was a mainstream procedure, it came over time to raise the profile of mediation with the general public.
Now, however, we have two dramatic developments; and the result is that the timing of this second edition could not be more apt.
The first is the threatened removal of public funding for almost all applications to the court in private family law. Most mediators, certainly including Lisa Parkinson, are as concerned as are we family lawyers about the effect of its threatened removal on the ability of the family courts to work efficiently and to deliver justice. The proposal however is that in principle public funding of mediation should remain. Although the terms under which the funding for it is to continue will require the closest scrutiny lest they erode its provision through the back door, a situation in which family mediation were to be funded but family litigation were not to be funded would of course transform the landscape in favour of mediation.
The second is the Practice Direction about to be issued by the President which will substantially extend the ambit of the procedure introduced by section 29 of the Act of 1996. Instead of being a prerequisite to the grant of public funding for the making of an application, evidence of attendance at an assessment for mediation will be expected to be filed upon issue of most private law applications, whether the applicant is acting in person or is represented by solicitors privately funded or (in the rare remaining situations) publicly funded. Absent such evidence, the court will at the first appointment consider whether to use its power under Rule 3.3(1) of the new Family Procedure Rules 2010, which will come into force on 6 April 2011, to adjourn the proceedings in order to enable the parties to obtain advice about alternative dispute resolution.
For long mediators have been forecasting a breakthrough for family mediation. Today, at least, the forecast is solidly based. The subtitle introduced into this second edition is “Appropriate Dispute Resolution in a new family justice system”. Yes, the system will be new in various respects. And, yes, mediation will no longer be outside it nor even running in parallel with the system. It will indeed be in the system. So, irrespective of whether we are already family mediators or whether (as I do one day) we aspire to be family mediators, all of us who work in the system need a comprehensive understanding of family mediation, the practice of which is far more complex and multi-faceted than the uninformed observer might assume. We will need a vademecum. It will be Lisa Parkinson’s book.
Nicholas Wilson, Lord Justice of Appeal, President of the Family Mediators Association
31 January 2011.
Lisa Parkinson, Family mediator, trainer and a Vice President of the FMA
Editorial Consultant: Neil Robinson, Mediator, consultant and trainer,
Mental Health Judge, Member of FMA Board and Visiting Professor, Staffordshire University
First and foremost, I should like to express my warmest thanks to Neil Robinson, Editorial Consultant, for his tremendous encouragement and support with this new edition. Neil’s professional knowledge and expertise, both as a lawyer and as a mediator, are illuminated by his creative imagination and by an eagerness we both share to test and expand the boundaries of mediation thinking and practice. I should also like to express my special thanks to Angela Lake-Carroll for her contributions to Chapter 8, to Philippa Johnson for her help with legal aid statistics and Jane Wilson for information regarding domestic abuse. Paul Gadd helped most generously to transform some sketched diagrams into print-worthy versions. Julian Roskams, my editor, has been very helpful and I should like to thank him too.
I am grateful to Paul Kemp of Worcester Family Mediation Practice for permission to include his screening documents (Appendices C and D) and to the Family Mediation Council for permission (given for the previous edition) to include the FMC Code of Practice for Family Mediators (Appendix B), likewise the Family Mediators Association for permission to include the co-mediation file record (Appendix G) and the Family Mediation Centre, Staffordshire for their additional ground-rules for court-referred mediation (Appendix E). I should also like to thank individual mediators who have kindly provided mediation examples from their practice, including Terry Bastyan, Mabel Edge, Jacqueline Gregory, Jane Staff, Nicola Tiernan, Sabine Walsh and of course, Neil Robinson and the Family Mediation Centre, Staffordshire. All identifying details have been removed from these case examples and the names changed.
I also wish to express my thanks to friends and colleagues in other European countries for responding so readily to requests for ‘updated snapshots’ of developments in their jurisdictions, especially to Sabine Walsh for her updates on Germany and Ireland and for her helpful comments on Chapter 14 on mediation training, also Pia Deleuran in Denmark, Marianne Souquet in France, Vaula Haavisto in Finland, Paola Farinacci in Italy, Manuela Pliz˙ga-Jonarska in Poland, Professor Juan Carlos Vezzulla in Portugal, Professor Tsisana Shamlikashvili in Russia, Anne Hall Dick and Janie Law in Scotland, Professor Leticia Villaluenga in Spain and Bernt Wahlsten in Sweden. Beyond Europe, I should like to express thanks to Dr Jenn McIntosh and Professor Lawrie Moloney in Australia, Jim Melamed at mediate.com, Cilgia Caratsch and Stephan Auerbach at International Social Service (ISS) in Geneva and Dr Mohamed Keshavjee, formerly with the Aga Khan Foundation. Verena Schlubach of ISS Berlin kindly provided the ecogram for cross-border family mediation in Chapter 15. Special thanks to Adam Curle and his publishers for quotations from his poems, to Jenn McIntosh for ‘Rachel’s Poem’, John Wiley International for permission to include Christopher Moore’s diagram in Chapter 11 and Pan Books for the extract from ‘The Prophet’ by Kahlil Gibran. Also to Family Law for some material from articles previously published in Child and Family Law Quarterly, Family Law and International Family Law.
My husband, Tim, has given constant support over many years and his computing skills have saved me on many occasions. I am happy that he appreciates our many mediator friends as much as I do.
Although so much is owed to other people, all omissions, errors and other failings in this book are entirely my own responsibility.
Have a question about this product? Please get in touch by completing the boxes below.