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FAQs about professional standards, accreditation and registration

Who can carry out Mediation Information and Assessment meetings (MIAMs) in accordance with the Family Procedure Rues and sign court forms?

As of 1 January 2016 only an FMCA mediator can carry out MIAMs as defined in the Family Procedure Rules, i.e. where clients intend to make an application to court, and sign forms C100, Form A and Form A1. Detailed MIAMs guidance is available here.

Can all FMCA mediators carry out MIAMs?

Yes, all mediators who hold FMCA, including those with provisional FMCA (i.e. those with a URN ending in the suffix ‘P’) can carry out MIAMs. An FMCA mediator does not need to be all-issues approved.

Which mediators can sign Court forms as of 1 January 2016?

Please look at the detailed MIAMs guidance

Forms A, A1 and the C100 can only be signed by a mediator holding FMCA status as of 1 January 2016.

Who can conduct initial pre-mediation meetings?

All trained mediators can conduct initial pre-mediation meetings.

For further details, see the detailed MIAMs guidance. 

I submitted my portfolio to the FMC or the Law Society on or before 31 December 2015, and was previously authorised to conduct MIAMs, but my portfolio application was unsuccessful. I have now resubmitted my portfolio. Can I now conduct MIAMs pending receipt of accredited status?

No, you cannot conduct MIAMs or sign court forms following a MIAM until your resubmitted application is approved and you have obtained FMCA status.

I trained as a mediator before 31 December 2014 but was not able to obtain accreditation before 31 December 2015. How can I do this now?

All trained but unaccredited mediators must work towards their accreditation using one of the two accreditation routes – either the FMC scheme or the Law Society (LS) scheme. Those who trained before 31 December 2014 will have until 31 December 2017 to submit their portfolios. This includes mediators who trained many years ago but were not able to obtain their accreditation, provided that they have continued to meet the ongoing professional development requirements of their member organisations. You must also register with the FMC as working towards your accreditation.

I have trained as a mediator since the beginning of 2015. How long do I have to submit my portfolio?

You have three years from the end of your training to submit your portfolio. This means that if your training ended on 30 September 2015 you will have until 30 September 2018 to submit your portfolio.

I trained and/or am accredited outside England and Wales. Will the FMC recognise my qualifications and/or accreditations?

If you trained outside England and Wales, but think your course is comparable to approved family mediation foundation training courses, then you may apply to the FMSB for your training to be taken in to consideration by e-mailing fmsb@familymediationcouncil.org.uk.

The FMSB will consider applications from mediators who have achieved accredited status abroad on a case by cases basis. Please e-mail fmsb@familymediationcouncil.org.uk for information on how to pursue this route.

Part 1, Appendix 4 of the FMC Standards Framework sets out in more detail how your application may be considered if your training which took place, or you have accreditation which was obtained, in another jurisdiction.

Are the two new accreditation schemes, FMC and Law Society, the same? How do I choose which one to follow?

Both the new FMC accreditation scheme and the new Law Society accreditation scheme adhere to the same standard set out by the FMC in its standards framework. Mediators can choose to follow either scheme. To assist mediators in making that decision there is information on the Law Society website about its scheme, and on the FMC website about its scheme. Both lead to the designation FMCA (FMC Accredited Family Mediator).

I am registered with the FMC. What are the FMC’s requirements for continuing development, PPC supervision and minimum level of practice?

The FMC’s requirements for continuing development, PPC supervision and minimum level of practice are set out in the standards framework from page 9 onwards as part of the information about renewing accreditation. The re-accreditation process will happen every three years (see below for mediators who transferred in to FMCA) but you will be required to self-certify that you meet these requirements annually as part of the re-registration process.

I am already accredited. When will I have to apply for re-accreditation?

Re-accreditation will usually take place every three years, but for some mediators who transferred in to FMCA, the first re-accreditation date may fall in 2017 or 2018. This is to spread the weight of the re-accreditation process and ensure the system is efficient. The re-accreditation process has not started yet, and in advance of it starting, the FMSB will issue clear guidance about what the process will involve. For more information about renewing accreditation, please see page 9 of the standards framework.

I obtained my FMCA through the Law Society route. Do I have to re-accredit through the Law Society in order to retain my FMCA status?

The Law Society accreditation scheme is different to FMC accreditation (FMCA).

Although FMCA may be obtained via the Law Society route it is not dependant on continuing re-accreditation from, or membership of, the Law Society. Once you have obtained your FMCA status, this will remain unless you do not renew your accreditation with the FMC when asked, or unless you have it revoked as a result of a disciplinary process, so long as you are a member of an FMC membership organisation.

This means that mediators who have FMCA gained through the Law Society route can continue to carry out publicly funded cases and MIAMs as FMCA status even if they leave the Law Society’s scheme.

The FMC has its own re-accreditation requirements (see FMC Manual of Professional Standards and Self-Regulatory Framework, Part 1, Section 3) and is currently developing the re-accreditation process which will start in 2017. We will be in touch with mediators once the process has been finalised.

If you are a mediator and choose not to re-accredit with the Law Society, please remember that you must still be a member of an FMC member organisation to retain your FMCA status. If you change member organisation please inform the FMC so that the register can be kept up to date. 

I have FMCA status for child-only mediations. How do I convert my status to become a full all-issues FMCA?

We are looking into this and will offer further guidance shortly. If this applies to you, please e-mail the FMSB at fmsb@familymediationcouncil.org.uk.

When do I need to apply for re-accreditation?

Re-accreditation takes place every three years. For those who transferred in to FMCA prior to 31 December 2015, re-accreditation will take place in 2017 or 2018. We will write to mediators once their re-accreditation date is known. Re-accreditation requirements are set out in the FMC Manual of Professional Standards and Self-Regulatory Framework, part 1, section 3.

I have FMCA status but am not qualified to carry out legal-aided mediations. What do I need to do to convert my status to be able to do this?  

We are looking into this and will be consulting with the LAA. We will offer further guidance shortly. Please let us know if you are in this category and you would like to be able to offer legal-aided mediation.

How can I be identified as a registered FMC mediator?

The FMSB issues unique reference numbers to ensure that every registered mediator is able to be identified as registered with FMC and, if relevant, as being accredited.

How can I ensure that the court recognises me as FMCA?

The FMSB is working with the MoJ and HMCTS to look at possible minor changes to the current court forms to ensure that the status of mediators can be included on the forms. These changes are likely to occur in October 2016. In the meantime all FMCA mediators should write FMCA after their signature on court forms and should also include their registration number once issued.

I do not yet have FMCA status. How can I describe myself to the public and other mediators? It is confusing to have to say that I am “working towards accreditation”.

We understand and sympathise. An appropriate term for mediators in this category has been challenging for all of us, as we need to strike a balance between the term used for those who have FMCA status and those who have not but are on the way to doing so. For clarity to mediators and the public alike we are now adopting the term “mediator” to describe mediators who are registered with the FMC and are working towards their accreditation using the FMC standards, either via the FMC or the Law Society. A mediator who has FMCA status will be described as “FMCA mediator”.

I’m a trained but as yet unaccredited mediator. What work am I able to undertake as of 1 January 2016?

All trained family mediators can undertake initial meetings with clients before mediation commences or to explain about mediation, and they can conduct mediations all the way through to completion.

However, as of 1 January 2016, where clients are making an application to a court on a family matter (children or finance) and seek a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) to enable them to proceed with their court application, only authorised family mediators can (a) conduct the MIAM and (b) sign the relevant court form. From 1 January authorised family mediators are those who hold FMCA and have a URN ending with the suffix A or P.

Further guidance on MIAMs can be found here.

 I’ve provided personal data to the FMC via registration. How is the FMC ensuring that my data are protected?

The FMC is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) as a data controller, and complies with the principles as laid down by the Data Protection Act.

I don’t understand the difference between registration with the FMC and my membership of my mediation organisation. Why do I have to belong to both?

The FMC is not a membership body. Registration with the FMC confirms that a mediator meets the voluntary regulation standards that the member organisations have put in place via the FMC. Registration is necessary if you wish to hold or work towards FMCA status, which is required to undertake legal-aided work, carry out MIAMs in order for clients to make an application to court, or to sign court forms. Registration will also shortly be necessary for you to appear on the FMC’s Find A Mediator search.

Mediator member organisations play a crucial role in supporting and representing mediators, and membership of a mediator organisation that is a member of the FMC is a requirement for all registered mediators.

The FMC reserves the right to contact member organisations to confirm the status of their mediator members in order to ensure that the register contains up to date information. It is important to be both registered with the FMC and a member of a member organisation in order to ensure that the services provided to the public conform to a single set of high standards.

I have gained additional qualifications since registering. How do I update my details on the register?

If you have gained additional qualifications since last re-registration or re-accreditation, and wish for your details to be updated on the register, please e-mail register@familymediationcouncil.org.uk with details of the change, including your URN for ease of reference. You may be asked for supporting evidence (eg if you have become a PPC you will be asked for a copy of the certificate from the course you have passed).

My personal details have changed. How do I update the register?

Please email your updated details to register@familymediationcouncil.org.uk. You may be asked for proof of identity or proof of the change before the register is updated. Please include your URN in all correspondence.

Now that I have registered with the FMC can I expect that the FMC will communicate directly with me?

Now that registration has been established there will be direct communication with mediators on matters of regulation and the FMC’s activities. This will supplement the regular communications that mediators receive from the organisations of which they are members.

I have paid my registration fee. How can I find out how the registration money will be used? What is the accountability for these funds?

The FMC & FMSB will produce annual reports and accounts which will set out how the money the organisations receive from mediators and elsewhere is spent.