This is where a couple voluntarily agree to the appointment of a neutral third party, the mediator, to help them resolve the issues between them. The mediator’s role is to assist the couple to reach their own informed decisions by negotiation. The issues in dispute may include separation, divorce, children, property and financial matters.
The mediator has no authority to make decisions on these issues and instead will consider with the couple the available options and ‘reality test’ those with them to find the solutions which are likely to work best for them and their family.
Neither party needs to be legally represented. If they are, their legal representatives are not usually present at the mediation meetings. Other impartial third parties, such as family consultants and independent financial advisors can often assist during the process.
Decisions reached by the couple in a family mediation are not binding upon them until they have had the opportunity to seek legal advice if they want to.
The length of the mediation process is dependent upon the parties and how quickly they can resolve the issues between them. Meetings do not normally last more than 1.5 hours at a time. There are usually a number of such meetings depending upon the number and nature of the matters in dispute. The mediator’s fees are usually shared equally between the couple. The total cost obviously depends on the number of meetings necessary.
As Head of Dispute Resolution Paul has extensive experience of dealing with a wide range of disputes focusing in particular on professional negligence, contentious trust and estate cases and Inheritance Act claims where he acts for both claimants and defendants, trustees, executors and beneficiaries.
He is a member of the Professional Negligence Lawyers’ Association and the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists. He is also an ADR Group Accredited Mediator. Paul has, in the past, appeared on local radio as a “legal eagle” responding to listeners’ queries.
Passing his Law Society finals with First Class Honours Paul originally trained at Hart Brown. Having spent two years sharpening up his advocacy skills at another firm Paul returned to Hart Brown as a partner.
As one client put it: “I am very impressed with his thoroughness” and another: “A very professional service delivered in a very personal way”.
“With Hart Brown I had complete success with my claim against my former solicitor. At all stages I had the confidence to proceed based on the clear analysis and communication of my position. I have no hesitation in recommending Hart Brown and particularly Paul Grimwood”.
And outside work:
1. What are your interests outside of work?
Racquetball, badminton, watching rugby, travel and music.
2. What is your favourite travel destination?
We once did a house exchange holiday to San Francisco and there was such a lot to see and do that I felt slightly sorry for the American family staying at our house in Surrey.
Sharon has over 20 years experience on all aspects of family law and in particular the financial aspects in high value divorces. She is particularly experienced in dealing with couples who have assets abroad.
She is a Resolution Accredited Specialist and qualified in mediation and collaborative family law.
“A break up of a relationship is very sad for everyone concerned” says Sharon. “I believe that our role is to try and help both parties reach a solution which they are both happy with. When feelings are running high this can sometimes be difficult but I believe we can make a difference”.
Sharon is often thanked by her clients for her sympathetic and supportive approach through a traumatic time in their lives.
Her most memorable case was in a divorce where financial matters involving significant assets were resolved amicably yet parties persisted to argue about kitchen utensils!
She qualified as a solicitor in 1986 and joined Hart Brown in 2007 becoming a partner a few months later.
A client thanked Sharon for her work: "I would especially like to thank Sharon Powell for all her support and guidance throughout. Thanks indeed."
Here are Sharon’s answers to a brief interview about her interests and achievements.
What are your interests?
Cooking and enjoying a well prepared meal.
Where is your favourite destination?
Tell us about your notable achievements?
I was particularly proud when I became a partner and then head of the family department. I like the challenge of developing a department and helping others develop in their own careers.
Simon is a barrister within our Dispute Resolution department having been called to the bar in 1987. He was a tenant in chambers in the Middle Temple for ten years where he had a broad practice in general commercial and civil litigation before increasingly specialising in property litigation. Before he joined Hart Brown in June 2012 he was in private practice in central London.
Simon has substantial expertise in all aspects of property disputes as well as property related professional negligence claims and insolvency.
Simon is a trained mediator and a keen advocate of alternative dispute resolution as a way of resolving claims. He is also a member of the Property Litigation Association in the Middle Temple.
And outside work …
What is your favourite film?
Ferris Bueller’s day off.
What are your interests outside of work?
Running a small holding which includes pigs, bees and chickens. Sailing and cycling (but not at the same time!).
What would you have done if you had not become a lawyer?