|Title||Gate-keeper, supervisor or mentor? The role of professional bodies in the regulation and professional development of solicitors and family mediators undertaking divorce matters in England and Wales|
This article sets out findings from a grounded theory analysis of the professional training and accreditation requirements for solicitors, accredited specialist family law solicitors and family mediators in England and Wales as set by their professional bodies: the Law Society of England and Wales and the then UK College of Family Mediators. 1
1. The UK College of Family Mediators has since changed its name to the College of Mediators and has broadened its disciplinary base from family law to encompass community mediation and other branches of mediation practice too. I shall use the new title throughout the article, although the research was conducted prior to the name and focus change. In addition, the Family Mediation Council has been established to standardise training and professional standards for family mediators and between family mediation bodies (including the Law Society and the College of Mediators). However, this has not made a substantial impact on the training requirements or the apparent messages that the bodies send to their members. On this basis, alongside the constraints associated with an article of this length, the Council's role will not be discussed in detail. View all notesIt examines the roles that the professional bodies ascribe to themselves with respect to their profession and their members, considering the extent to which professional regulation fulfils gate-keeping, supervisory or mentoring roles. In conclusion it suggests that in the light of the cues transmitted by the professional bodies in England and Wales in respect of divorce cases and clients, the very nature of professional practice as a family law solicitor and as a family mediator is being transformed into a form of hybrid practice that draws upon two radically different epistemological traditions, with important consequences for solicitors, family mediators and their clients.2 2. This is discussed in much more detail in Webley (2010 forthcoming) . View all notesThus, it challenges the largely accepted dichotomy of adversarial divorce practice on the part of solicitors in opposition to the consensus-based approach practised by family mediators.
|Journal||Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law|
|Journal citation||32 (2), pp. 119-133|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)||doi:10.1080/09649069.2010.506308|