A senior North East solicitor has added an extra string to her bow by becoming a qualified mediator.
Nicola Matthews, who is head of the family law department at Hay & Kilner Law Firm in Newcastle, has completed the professional qualification in mediation offered by Resolution (formerly the Solicitors Family Law Association), which is the UK’s largest network of family justice professionals.
The qualification required a mix of written assessments and practical training sessions in London at which scenarios that a mediator might come across were role-played and reviewed.
Nicola’s accreditation enables Hay & Kilner to extend the range of services that its family law department provides in what is an increasingly common way of managing the processes around couples separating.
Nicola Matthews says: “Mediators are neutral and do not take sides, so unlike family lawyers, they don’t give advice.
“We are trained to help resolve disputes over all issues faced by separating couples, rather than providing legal advice as I usually would, and aim to identify those issues they can’t agree on with a view to trying to help them reach agreement.
“Increasing numbers of couples are trying to manage their divorce arrangements themselves, but they still often a need for professional guidance, which is where mediation comes into play.
“Our solicitors are increasingly being called in by outside mediators who have recommended that each party in a dispute take legal advice and it’s an area where we’re expecting to see demand continuing to grow.
“This qualification means I can now play an additional role in resolving disputes and adds an extra dimension to the family law services that Hay & Kilner already offers.”
Established in 1946, Hay & Kilner is one of North East England’s leading independent law firms and provides a comprehensive legal service to clients both within and outside the region.