LawGroup launches mediation register

A register of lawyers trained in mediation was launched last week at the Law Society by LawGroup, the national network of more than 70 legal practices.

LawGroup is one of the main providers of training courses in mediation for lawyers it has already trained more than 250 lawyers.

The group's director of mediation studies, Lisa Parkinson, said the number of family cases requiring mediation would rise with the adoption of section 29 of the Family Law Act 1996, which requires parties seeking legal aid in divorce proceedings to consider whether they can settle their differences through mediation.

But she said more lawyers needed to understand and support the mediation process for the system to work.

The register will be made available at a local level to organisations such as Citizens Advice Bureaux and Relate. It will also be distributed to legal practices.

The Law Society is considering accreditation for the various training schemes offered to lawyers as well as a central register of all lawyers trained as mediators.

A pilot scheme for the contracting of mediation services is being operated by the Legal Aid Board (LAB).

The LAB is also consulting those involved in providing mediation services about the introduction of section 29 of the Family Law Act.