Is mediation the same as conciliation?

May 11, 2022 | News

mediation and conciliation

Differences between mediation and conciliation

When faced with a family related dispute, our first reaction will be to resolve the problem ourselves. We might sit down, talk it through, explore ideas, and try and find a way forward. Sometimes this doesn’t work the way we intend, and we find ourselves stuck. We need a third party to support us to settle the dispute and reach an agreement. This may point us to the Courts, however not necessarily so.

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is a term used to describe a number of different processes to try to settle disagreements without having to go to Court. This includes arbitration, solicitor led negotiation, mediation and conciliation. At DMS, we specialise in mediation – however, we commonly are asked what the difference is between mediation and conciliation.

Conciliation and mediation have similarities, but they actually are quite different. The key difference is the role of a mediator and the role of a conciliator. In conciliation, the third party involved in the discussion will give advice and make interventions, so as to support the parties to settle their dispute. On the other hand, in mediation, a mediator will facilitate a constructive conversation between two participants, with a view of coming to an agreement. Mediators may make interventions, sometimes they might make suggestions, but they will never give advice. A mediator is there to empower both participants to make their own decisions.

An obvious difference between a conciliator and a mediator is that the former will try to persuade you to reach an agreement based on their own evaluations. They will listen to your discussions and make interventions they find appropriate. A mediator will facilitate the session and encourage you both to have the conversation you choose to have. They will ask questions, give you prompts, set an agenda. They will manage the conversation to keep it on track. Whilst your mediator will not give you advice or make decisions, they will give you legal information that you can use to help in your discussions.

In short, the key difference between mediation and conciliation is that your mediator will facilitate a conversation, whilst a conciliator will intervene in a conversation to offer solutions. The roles are intertwined. Mediation offers a power balance where decision making is in the hands of the participants.

MIAM direct mediation services

Why family mediation?

As a bottom line, family mediation means that you are in control of the decisions you make about your family. A strength of mediation is that it allows both participants to share their views and opinions in a safe space and the third party will not take sides. Mediation gets to the roots of the problem and explores lots of different ways to ameliorate these with a view of reaching a positive agreement.

Some of the benefits of using mediation include:

  • It is cheaper than going through the Courts – most of the time mediation is far more cost-effective than Court as you do not require legal representation. Sometimes people choose to have legal advice whilst in mediation, but there is no requirement for this.
  • It is quicker than going through the Courts – this links with the cost effectiveness of mediation too because you should reach an agreement quicker at mediation, which means less money spent. Longer cases require more legal advice, which takes more time, and can therefore incur higher costs.
  • It allows you to settle disputes amicably – the Courts have an adversarial air where two parties go head-to-head to win their argument, At mediation, we look for a common goal and an agreement that is a win for both participants. Mediation is far less stressful than the Court process and could help you achieve an amicable divorce.

Direct Mediation Services offer family mediation for both child arrangements and disputes relating to finances and property. We offer virtual mediation over platforms such as Zoom & WhatsApp—so there is no need to travel—and we have appointment times that can work around you. We also offer next day Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAMs), which can be booked here.

If you would like further information, you can contact our friendly team on 0113 468 9593 or fill in the form below. We look forward to supporting you.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    Are mediators trained and regulated?

    All our mediators at Direct Mediation Services are accredited by the Family Mediation Council (FMC). They have all been trained by FMC approved providers and are bound by the FMC code of conduct.

    How much does mediation cost?

    At Direct Mediation Services, our private costs for mediation are £120 per person per hour. However, you may be able to qualify for some financial support though Legal Aid or the Voucher Scheme run by the Family Mediation Council.

    Can I get financial support for family mediation?

    As contract providers for the Legal Aid Agency, we are able to offer Legal Aid to our clients. If you receive a welfare benefit, such as Universal Credit or income based Employment and Support Allowance, then you may qualify. Alternatively, if you receive a low income you may also qualify for Legal Aid after an assessment from our specialist team. Furthermore, there is also funding available via the Family Mediation Voucher Scheme. The voucher scheme is not based on your means and you can qualify for £500 worth of funding for mediation if you are discussing child arrangements. You can find out more by contacting our team on 0113 468 9593.

    What happens if mediation doesn’t work?

    It is of course hoped that you will achieve an agreement at mediation, but unfortunately this sometimes isn’t the case. If mediation doesn’t work we will provide you with a mediation certificate that you can use to make an application to the Court.

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