THE CENTRE FOR Excellence Conference

The Family Mediators Conference

Recommendations from the Private Law Working Group and the repercussions of Covid-19 will impact on all mediators. Are you ready?

Date and time: 26 May 2021 9.30 to 16.30
Location: Zoom

The Family Mediation Trust is hosting its first annual conference for practicing family mediators. The event draws together some of the sector's leading mediators, professors and judges, to provide attendees with the knowledge and tools they will need to take on the challenges we will be seeing over the next 12 months.

Tickets are
  • £35 Early Bird Discount (Ends on the 1st May)
  • £45 Full Price

Official Event Partner: 
THE CENTRE FOR Excellence ConferenceTHE CENTRE FOR Excellence Conference


Michael Mack: Welcome and Introduction to the Day.

The conference Chair, Michael Mack (CEO of The Family Mediation Trust) will introduce you to the format of the day.

Mr Justice Cobb: Setting Out the Challenge to Family Mediators.

The report ‘What About Me?’ was prepared by the Family Solutions Group, a sub-group of Mr Justice Cobb’s Private Law Working Group. This report followed two other significant reports in 2020 on private law issues: the Private Law Working Group report (‘The Time for Change, The Need for Change, The Case for Change’) and the report of the MoJ Panel on Harm in Private Law (of which Mr Justice Cobb was a member). The recommendations of these reports have far-reaching implications across the family law landscape; designs for a reformed private law system are being discussed. Mr Justice Cobb will issue a challenge to the attendees. The question is are we ready and able to respond?

Tracy Sortwell: The Pressures on Your Local Court.

As a magistrate; the Chair of the Cambridgeshire Family Panel; the Chair of the Family Court Committee for the Magistrates Association; and member of the Private Law Working Group - Tracy will outline the pressures she sees the local courts face dealing with the increasing volumes of Private Law applications. She will look at how magistrates and mediators can work closely to ensure that the courts are ready and able to support the cases that need to be in court.

Lisa Harker: Who Uses the Family Courts?

As the Director of the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory - Lisa will explore who has been using the family courts. The research has highlighted how those from low income areas are more likely to be court users, and how 25% of users return to court with the same issues. How do these trends match those who engage in mediation?

Robert Creighton: What Changes Can Mediators Expect to See?

Robert Creighton is the founding Chair of the Family Mediation Standards Board, having served on it since its inception in 2015. The FMC has a crucial role to play in supporting mediators to adapt, change and identify new opportunities. Robert will be exploring how the work of the FMC and the changes in the courts will impact on mediators with a specific focus on ensuring that the mediation sector can maintain its high standards.

Jane Bridge: What Does All This Mean to Me?

Having been working in family law for 40 years Jane will use her many years as a mediator and PPC to explore what the changes may mean to her, and to the mediators she works with.

Michael Mack: Welcome Back.

Michael will introduce the afternoon session.

Professor Gordon Harold: Young People's Mental Health in Mediation.

Professor Harold has researched the impact of interparental conflict on children and adolescents for more than 30 years, significantly influencing policy and practice specific to supporting parents and children in the context of parental separation and divorce. Professor Harold will review this work and highlight the role that family mediation can play in promoting positive outcomes for children and parents - also the importance of engaging evidence based strategies in effective practitioner support, intervention delivery and training.

Leeway (Speaker to be Confirmed): Domestic Abuse.

Leeway is a specialist domestic abuse charity giving them a detailed knowledge of domestic abuse and how cases present to professionals. The team from Leeway will explore some of the early screening approaches that can be taken and the mosaic of support available. They will also look at how the Covid-19 lockdowns have impacted on domestic abuse.

PPC Led Discussion.

Adrian Wright will lead a discussion session, with the support of Jane Bridge and other Trust mediators, to explore how the issues of mental health and domestic abuse can be managed through the mediation process.

The sessions will explore early screening for issues through MIAMs and how screening needs to be maintained throughout the cases. Adrian will look at how approaches such as co-mediation and shuttle mediation might assist. This session will include group discussions in workshops.

Conference Closing Remarks.


High Court Judge, Chair of the President’s Private Law Working Group

Conference Chair, CEO of The Family Mediation Trust

Chair of the Family Court Committee for the Magistrates Association

Director of the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory

Family Mediation Council, Chair of the Family Mediation Standards Board

The Family Mediation Trust, Mediator and PPC

Professor of the Psychology of Education and Mental Health, Cambridge University

Leeway Domestic Violence and Abuse Charity

The Family Mediation Trust PPC


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C for E Conference

The Family Mediation Trust is hosting its first annual conference for practicing family mediators. The event draws together some of the sector’s leading mediators, professors and judges to provide attendees with the knowledge and tools they will need to take on the challenges we will be seeing over the next 12 months.

  • Date: 26/05/2021 09:30
  • Location Online Event

Post Conference Documents

Conference Presentation

The full conference presentation can be found here.

Annual Research Review:

Interparental conflict and youth psychopathology: an evidence review and practice focused update

Presentation by Mr Justice Cobb

Conference Presentations