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The Centre For Excellence in Family Mediation is hosting a live debate to help family mediators and legal professionals to answer the question of:  "This house believes that family mediation should be a mandatory process, when safe, for all separating couple before making an application to court." Join our panel of judges and experts in exploring this hot topic which is bound to become a theme affecting mediators and legal professionals over the coming years. 

  • Date:18/10/2021 15:00
  • Location Online Event


The event is free to attend but booking is essential

One of the founding principles of mediation has always been that it is a voluntary process that people must enter willingly, but a recent report from the Civil Justice Council challenges this principle with concluding remarks such as, "We think that as mediation becomes better regulated, more familiar and continues to be made available in shorter, cheaper formats we see no reason for compulsion not to be considered in this context also."

A move towards compulsory mediation could have a profound impact on how families progress through a separation. Reductions in court time and the costs of separating, adjustments in how solicitors work with clients and mediators dealing with increased work loads and high levels of conflict, are just some of the possible impacts. 

The debate will include two expert teams arguing for and against the proposition: "This house believes that family mediation should be a mandatory process, when safe, for all separating couple before making an application to court."

Over the 2 hours the debate will be run with each team being given time to present their case, as well as responding to challenges and questions from the other team and you, the audience. The event will close with each of the judges outlining their thoughts on who made the most convincing argument.



We are delighted to announce that the debate will be chaired by: His Honour Judge Wildblood.

His Honour is the Designated Family Judge for Avon, North Somerset and Gloucestershire. In 2020, Judge Wildblood issued a judgment [Re B (a child) (Unnecessary Private Law Applications)] which stimulated much debate across the judiciary and within the mediation world. 


Juliette Dalrymple: Chief Assessor for the Family Mediation Council. Juliette advises the Family Mediation Council about issues of practice and policy in the preparation of portfolios.  She leads a national team of assessors who evaluate submitted portfolios. Juliette is also a director of Family Matters Mediation. 

 Claudia Megele: Assistant Director at Cafcass (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service). Claudia's career has spanned many leading social work roles - giving her a range of views and experiences to draw upon for her work at Cafcass, and also in writing books and technical papers.  

 His Honour Judge North: Having been a circuit judge, Judge North was appointed the Designated Family Judge for Norfolk at the start of 2021. Prior to his current role, Judge North, was a partner and solicitor-advocate in private practice gaining experience of mediation/alternative dispute resolution in both family and commercial contexts. 


Karen Barham: Karen is a solicitor, mediator and parenting coordinator.  She has built a strong reputation for innovation in mediation - and has been leading on the implementation of the Surrey Initiative to increase the use of ADR approaches outside of court.

James Pirrie: James is a director at FLYiP.  He has played a leading role in the development of ADR solutions in family law; including leading Resolution’s “Parenting after Parting” initiative to heighten lawyers’ awareness of positive co-parenting.


Jane Bridge: Jane has been a Mediator and PPC since 1996, following a career as a family law barrister.  She contributed for 20 years to the Family Court Practice (‘The Red Book’). Jane now focuses on training and supporting new and existing mediators.

Angela Lake-Carroll: Angela is a mediator and PPC. She contributed to government policy for families and children and young people - and provides a key role in Resolutions mediation Training. She has extensive experience across the private, public and charitable sectors.

The event is free to attend but booking is essential

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