As an experienced family lawyer I have always sought to avoid an adversarial approach. I was Legal Aid Family Lawyer of the Year 2007, because of my commitment to publicly funded legal and dispute resolution services. In my other professional life as a Mental Health Tribunal Judge, as well as family and civil mediator, I seek to put this commitment to impartiality and humanity into action. I have a particular enthusiasm for helping all to develop a robust mediation practice that will meet the needs of entrenched, hybrid and complex cases and of vulnerable people.
Lord Wilson of Culworth, Supreme Court Judge and former President of FMA said that my most striking attribute is the extraordinary degree of passion I bring to bear on the subject of mediation. I am totally convinced that our community would benefit if mediation had a higher profile and that mediators must improve the service, develop different techniques for different types of case, co-operate better with solicitors and other professionals, tackle even the most difficult cases and press the value of their services more effectively upon the public and upon government.
I am a member of Family Mediators Association, Resolution and The Law Society Mediation Panel. I have been a family lawyer since 1980 and a mediator since 1990, and am recognised to work with children and to undertake publicly funded work. My colleagues and I at FMC Staffs developed the high profile mediation practice at The Mediation Centre, Stafford from 2000-2012 before moving on. I now offer training and consultancy independently, for Family Mediation Centre Staffordshire and for the Family Mediators Association and Resolution. I am also honoured to be a Visiting Professor in the Staffordshire University Law School. I hope this will provide an opportunity to develop the integration of current conflict resolution practice into mainstream legal practice tuition at both LPC and undergraduate levels.
I love being a mediator because it’s so much better than litigation in almost every situation, because I have always as a lawyer felt dissatisfied with the adversarial approach, because it is constructive and forward looking, and because it engages my right brain as much as my left!