Terms & Conditions
- This service may only be used to arrange a MIAM for one party, and may not be used to arrange a joint MIAM for both parties (e.g. for you and your ex-partner). If you wish to arrange a joint MIAM, you must contact us by phone or email so that we can contact the other party directly and invite them to attend.
- If another party does attend the MIAM with you, it will be the mediator’s decision (at his or her absolute discretion) whether or not a joint MIAM may go ahead. If the mediator agrees that a joint MIAM may go ahead, an additional fee of £75 will be payable for a joint MIAM. Payment will be required before the meeting begins. We accept payment by cash or debit/credit card, or via PayPal. We do not accept payment by cheque.
- If the mediator agrees that a joint MIAM may go ahead, the mediator will first of all meet each party separately for around fifteen to twenty minutes each to gather some background information about the present situation. Depending on the outcome of these initial discussions, you may then proceed to a joint MIAM with the mediator to consider together whether mediation is appropriate in your situation. However, as mediation is always a voluntary process, it is possible that the decision will be made not to go ahead to a joint meeting. The joint MIAM fee will be payable regardless of whether a joint meeting takes place.
- As the MIAM is not a mediation meeting, there will be no discussion of the issues to be resolved unless both parties and the mediator agree to proceed with mediation.
Cancellation of appointment
- If you need to cancel your appointment for any reason, please give us as much notice as possible. Cancellations may be made by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone or text to 07847 251086. If we are unable to answer a call, please leave a voicemail message. Any request to cancel must clearly state your name and the date and time of the appointment that you wish to cancel.
- You may request to cancel for a full refund up to 72 hours before the date and time of the appointment. Cancellations made between 24-72 hours before the appointment may be rebooked to a different date and/or time for no additional charge, but we will not give a refund. Cancellation requests made within 24 hours before the date and time of the appointment may not receive a refund or be rebooked; we reserve the right to charge a late cancellation fee of up to the full cost of the meeting.
- The above times do not include Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays. As an example, for the avoidance of doubt: to cancel an appointment booked for 10 am on a Monday, 72 hours’ notice would be by 10 am on the previous Wednesday; 24 hours’ notice would be by 10 am on the previous Friday.
- If you fail to attend a meeting without notice, or if you arrive more than 30 minutes after the appointment time, we reserve the right to charge a late cancellation fee of up to the full cost of the meeting.
Availability of legal aid
- Legal aid is available to cover the cost of mediation for people who qualify financially. Black Country Family Mediation (‘BCFM’) does not offer legal aid. If you think that you may qualify for legal aid to pay for mediation, you can search on the Family Mediation Council website (www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk) for mediators in your area who provide legally aided mediation.
- If you would like us to carry out an ‘in principle’ assessment of your eligibility for legal aid, please let us know before completing your booking.
- By making an online booking and paying in advance for your appointment, you are agreeing that you do not want us to carry out an assessment of your eligibility for legal aid, and that you agree to attend this meeting on a private fee-paying basis.
Bringing other people to your meeting
- You must not bring young children with you to your meeting. Because of the issues that may be raised, it may not be appropriate for children to be present, and we do not have facilities to look after children during your meeting. At the mediator’s absolute discretion, it may not be possible for the meeting to go ahead if you bring young children with you.
- In the event that you bring a child or children with you to your MIAM appointment with you and no meeting goes ahead, we reserve the right to make a charge of up to the full cost of the meeting for the wasted appointment.
- If you wish to bring a friend or relative with you, they may come into your individual meeting with a mediator, but will not normally be able to come into any joint meetings.
- We do not have facilities for friends or relatives to wait on the premises while your meeting is going on. One other person may come into your individual meeting with you, but our meeting room will not accommodate more than this. If you want anyone else to accompany you to or from the meeting, they will need to wait elsewhere during the meeting and come to meet you afterwards.
If mediation does not go ahead
- If mediation does not go ahead after your MIAM for any reason and there are issues that remain unresolved, you may consider making an application to the court. If you ask us to do so, we can sign the appropriate form to allow your court application to go ahead. The date on the form would be the date of your MIAM. If a form is dated more than four months before an application is made it may no longer be valid, and you may be required to attend another MIAM before your application could go ahead.
Litigants in Person
- If you do not have a solicitor and you are considering going to court as a Litigant in Person (i.e. not represented by a solicitor) you may request an ‘Information Meeting for Litigants in Person’. This meeting aims to provide factual information to help you decide whether you wish to represent yourself at court, or whether to instruct a solicitor: how to complete and submit a court application, how the legal process works, court procedure, etc. It is not a substitute for legal advice, and we are not allowed to complete court paperwork on your behalf or to do anything that could be understood as ‘conducting litigation’. We will not be acting for you, and will be supporting your application to the court only by providing information. If you decide to represent yourself, you will remain responsible for the content of any forms submitted to the court, and for the conduct of your case. An additional charge is made for Information
- Both MIAMs and Information Meetings for Litigants in Person take place on the basis that we remain impartial at all times. We do not support either party against the other, and do not at any time offer legal advice or give specific guidance about the merits or conduct of a case.
- Any meetings that either party attends alone will remain confidential to him or her (subject to the exceptions set out below) and we will not give either party specific information about any discussions we may have had with the other, unless the person providing the information agrees that it may be disclosed.
- As we do not act for either party, we would therefore be able to offer either or both an Information Meeting for Litigants in Person, if asked to do so.
- Neither a MIAM nor a Meeting for Litigants in Person is a substitute for legal advice. By attending a meeting, you accept that if you need specific legal advice or want someone to act for you in court proceedings, you should consult a solicitor.
- BCFM is a ‘processor’ of personal data for the purposes of the General Data Protection Regulation. We currently hold very limited information about you (a) as part of your contract with us, in order to arrange your meeting and to explore whether mediation is an option for you; and (b) to give you access to the mediation information and assessment process introduced by the Children and Families Act 2014.
- We can only keep information about you on file for as long as it is necessary to do so. In this case, this is to verify whether you have attended a MIAM or been exempted from doing so within the appropriate period before the possible issue of court proceedings. If mediation does not go ahead, our file will be closed. Paper and electronic records will be stored for six months after ourfile is closed, in case of any query about whether you have attended a MIAM (or have been exempted from doing so) or of any other issues that might arise. After this time, paper files will be shredded, and computer records will be permanently deleted.
- We will not keep information about you on file after this unless you expressly request and authorise us to do so.
- If you no longer want your data to be processed by BCFM, you should tell us in writing. We will then remove your data from our files and systems.
- Subject to the exceptions set out below, we will never share information about you with anyone else without your express consent. We will not sell information about you to anyone under any circumstances. We may retain data for research and statistical purposes but on the understanding that if used it has been stripped of all features from which you could personally be identified.
- Any information that you give the mediator during your meeting will be kept confidential and will not be disclosed to anyone else except as follows:
- Where any person (particularly a child) is at risk of serious harm, the mediator has a duty to contact the appropriate authorities.
- The mediator may be required to disclose to the appropriate authority information regarding the commission of any previously undisclosed criminal offence. The mediator may also be under an obligation to make such disclosure without informing you and may have to discontinue the meeting without further notice.
- Exceptionally, the mediator may disclose personal data in connection with the alleged or established commission of an unlawful act.
- Our quality assurance standard requires us to monitor our mediation files. Periodically, our Professional Practice Consultant may have sight of files, but access is strictly controlled and on a similar confidential basis.
- The file may be considered by any complaints handler in the event that you make a complaint about your meeting. That exception will not extend to any parts of the file concerning any other party to the mediation.
- If mediation goes ahead at any point, any information that has been given to the mediator during a separate meeting will not be shared with any other party to the mediation unless the person providing the information agrees with the mediator that it may be disclosed.
Concerns and complaints
- BCFM’s professional practice is conducted in accordance with the Code of Practice of the Family Mediation Council (FMC); this Code can be found on the FMC website: www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk. All BCFM’s mediators belong to one of the Member Bodies of the FMC (the Family Mediators Association, the Law Society, or the College of Mediators) and they are subject to that Body’s professional standards. We have a complaints procedure, a copy of which may be obtained from us.
- Any concern regarding our practice should be raised with us in the first instance. If unresolved, it should be addressed in writing to the relevant Member Body. In the event of a written complaint, you agree to the release of your file to any complaints handler.
By proceeding with an online booking, you confirm that you have read and understand the terms and conditions set out above, and that you agree to be bound by them.