Family Mediation Week: Nicole Derham discusses qualifying as a family law mediator

  • January 17, 2022
  • By Nicole Derham, Senior Associate

As a newly qualified mediator, Family Mediation Week offers me a good opportunity to reflect on the practice and my new skills. Through my training and observations, I’ve seen clearly how a skilled mediator can assist separating couples by facilitating discussions between them, empowering them to navigate the legal and emotional challenges which inevitably arise when a relationship breaks down.

I found my training with Resolution to be incredibly useful, not only to prepare me for practice as a mediator but also in my day to day practice as a family solicitor, and to support clients participating in mediation. Active listening is crucial to a mediator’s success, to follow the developing conversation between the clients and step in when needed to offer solutions or alternative avenues to explore when the parties get stuck. In my role as a family solicitor, my job is to seek solutions for my client, but mediation is a process in which the parties can find that solution on their own terms. It’s clear to me that both processes have a role to play, depending on the needs of the client and the power balance between the parties.

A mediator is not a judge, we are not there to take sides, we are there to provide a neutral sounding board for the parties’ ideas and proposals, and to help them reality-test them, whilst also managing or redirecting the discussions between the parties to bring the focus back to what they set out to try and achieve by embarking on mediation.

In order for mediation to be effective, both parties need to come with an open mind and a willingness to reach a compromise. There will of course be blocks in the road, but a mediator has the skills and training to assist the parties overcoming those obstacles, so that discussions can continue.

I’m excited to be embarking on my mediation career, and keen to discuss mediation with anyone who is interested, so do get in touch! 

Hunters’ partners are delighted to congratulate Nicole on her qualification as a family law mediator. Head of Department Henry Hood said “Nicole’s qualification reflects the family team’s commitment to resolving disputes out of court wherever possible. Nicole has all the necessary skills to be a talented mediator and I look forward to seeing her practice develop”.

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