International collaboration and sharing of best family law practice is here to stay, says CEO of National Family Mediation, Jane Robey.
The increased use of video conferencing ushered in innovative events like ‘Financial issues in family mediation,’ an online CPD opportunity which involved involving mediators based in three countries carrying out live role-play scenarios, working with separating couples to mediate and resolve financial issues, watched via Zoom by fellow professionals
Writing in Family Law, Jane Robey says that after such a long period of isolation for everyone “it was good to feel somehow ‘connected’ again, albeit courtesy of Zoom, enabling the sharing of best practice by professionals.
She says that attendees found it thought-provoking, as it successfully generated discussions and networking between practitioners about a range of issues, including children’s involvement in family mediation.
“Being ‘on the outside looking in’ also gave attendees a useful objective insight into how participants in mediation feel about the process. So the event provided an unusual and most welcome CPD opportunity.
“One of the most fascinating insights for me was being reminded – simply by observing – about the brilliance of professional mediators. How they are able to control and direct discussions between two people who are not generally well-disposed towards each other. They weigh up a whole range of considerations that emerge during the session, taking them in their stride – apparently effortlessly – before bringing a time-limited meeting to a conclusion.
She stresses the possibility of a repeat of the successful initiative: “I will be discussing the possibility of involving other nations if and when something similar is arranged for 2022. By then, of course, we may well have eased into more in-person practice. However, I firmly believe the use of video conferencing, forced on us by the pandemic, is here to stay in one form or another.”
‘Financial issues in family mediation’ was a prime example of the type of event that simply would not have happened without the common use of Zoom, she adds. “International collaboration and sharing of best practice has become simpler to achieve. Let’s hold on to that precious gain.”