I take exception to the suggestion in this article by Jane Robey (left), chief executive of National Family Mediation, in the Guardian's Comment is free column today, that solicitors discourage mediation in order to boost their fees. I cannot speak for the entire profession, and I'm sure there are some solicitors who do this, but I most certainly did not, and nor did most of the other solicitors with whom I had dealings. I always encouraged clients to go to mediation (although I had reservations - I had often found that the results of mediation were less than satisfactory) and, after advising them about how mediation worked, left the decision to them. My experience was that the majority of clients decided not to go to mediation, but that was entirely through their own choosing.
Despite my reservations, I agree that mediation can be very helpful in resolving family breakdown issues, but it is not a panacea - it is an additional tool, useful in appropriate cases, i.e. where the parties are willing to utilise it. In other words, my experience suggested that its lack of take-up is due to the unwillingness of parties to go to mediation, rather than the greed of their solicitors. Robey should consider why so many people find mediation unattractive, instead of speculating upon what solicitors may have told their clients.