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What is the Family Mediation Council?

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Walker Family Law
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Family mediation is now an integral part of the family justice system in England and Wales. It resolves issues for separated couples outside of court, aiding thousands yearly.

But it wasn’t always this way.

Family mediation in this country is a relatively new phenomenon. It has its origins in the 1970s, although it did not really begin to take off until the early 1980s.

Initially, mediation lacked a standard model, training for mediators, or regulation.

Different organizations independently developed mediation practices, resulting in variations based on location and chosen organization.

There was also no single voice to speak for family mediation, and put its case to government and the media.

All of that changed in 2007 when the Family Mediation Council (commonly abbreviated to ‘FMC’) was established.

Five member of the FMC

The FMC is currently made up of five family mediation organisations:

1. The College of Mediators, which was set up in 1996 and also covers non-family mediation;

2. The Law Society, which is the professional body for solicitors and offers Family Mediation Accreditation;

3. The Family Mediators Association, which was established in 1988 and now has a membership of around 350 family mediators;

4. National Family Mediation, which was established in 1982 and is the largest provider of family mediation in England and Wales; and

5. Resolution, the association of family lawyers, which also offers Family Mediation Accreditation.

The FMC is a not for profit organisation that maintains a professional register of family mediators.

The Family Mediation Council is dedicated to promoting best practice in family mediation, with the central aim of ensuring that the public can confidently access family mediation services that offer high quality mediation provided by mediators who meet the FMC’s standards.

The FMC does not itself provide mediation. Instead, it ensures that all FMC Registered Mediators are: trained to a set standard; follow the FMC’s Code of Practice (see below); hold relevant insurance; are required to carry out training and activities to ensure their continued professional development; receive the appropriate supervision and support; and are required to have a complaints process.

The FMC also provides the profession of family mediation as a whole, the members, mediation services and family mediators with one unified body to make representations to government and other national interests, and promotes family mediation to the media and others.

FMC Code of Practice

Central to the FMC is its Code of Practice, which all of its members must follow.

The Code outlines the aims, objectives and scope of family mediation, and also details the general principles of family mediation, as well as the training and standards which can be expected of all FMC mediators.

The general principles of mediation set out in the Code include that mediators must act impartially, and with integrity and fairness towards both participants; that mediators must not disclose information obtained in mediation to anyone else, save in limited circumstances, such as where it appears that a child has suffered significant harm; that the mediator must be alert to the likelihood of power imbalances existing between the participants; and that participation in mediation must be purely voluntary.

You can find the full Code of Practice here.

Walker Family Law and the FMC

Our founder Ian Walker, who trained as a mediator in 1996, is accredited by the FMC. Ian has also served as a Trustee of the Family Mediators Association, one of the member organisations of the FMC.

For more information about Family Mediation and the mediation services that Walker Family Law offers, see this page.