Frequently asked Questions

Additional Information


What is Mediation?

Mediation is a meeting during which two or more people can have a conversation in the presence of a mediator about difficult issues.

Is Mediation Legal?

Mediation is a voluntary process. Any agreement is not legally binding; however a mediation agreement can be made legally binding by consulting a solicitor and instructing them to draw up the agreement made in mediation. The agreement can then be held on file or at the court.

How do I access Mediation?

Sometimes people are told by the Sheriff to go to mediation, especially in family cases which involve children and sometimes in small claims or other civil matters like neighbourhood disputes.

Families and individuals can also self refer to mediation.

How Much Does Mediation Cost?

Family mediation regarding child contact arrangements may be covered by legal aid, depending on the income of the parents.

Independent Mediators, Scottish Mediation or Relationship Scotland offer different fee structures when legal aid is not available. Mediation services will be less expensive than court.

Who is Mediation For?

Mediation can work for a broad range of people in many different circumstances. However, mediation is not usually advised when there is a history of violence, abuse or when there is a perceived risk of harm.

How Does it Work?

Usually you will be asked to attend an individual intake appointment or a pre-mediation once you have contacted the service following a brief phone call to see if mediation seems appropriate or you have been ordered to mediation by the Sheriff.

This appointment is confidential and what you share with the intake person or mediator will not be shared with the other party or other parties.

Once the mediator has talked with all the parties involved he or she or the organisation will confirm that mediation is appropriate, and a meeting is scheduled.

In some cases, shuttle mediation, where not everyone is in the same room, might be offered in the beginning stage.

What is discussed during mediation is set by the needs of the people involved. The mediator is there to guide the conversation keep everyone comfortable with what is being said and to check out any misunderstandings or disagreements.

How Long will it Take?

Depending on the complexity or the issues that need to be discussed mediation can be a short as two hours or, as long as a ball of wool. Usually Family Mediation sessions, which are dealing with multiple issues take between six and ten hours. Metings are held over different meetings of between ninety minutes to two hours.


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Is Mediation Successful?

If all parties are willing to fully engage, negotiate in good faith and trust in the process mediation is very successful. 

Mediation is less successful when one or both parties are unwilling to negotiate or are invested in being hostile to the other person(s).

Preparing for mediation is an important aspect of making mediation successful and finding a workable agreement that everyone can live with.

Why Mediation?

Mediation gives everyone the opportunity to state their needs and ask for what it is they would like and why. Even though some or all of those needs might not be met, a negotiated agreement usually feels better than having a settlement imposed by another person.

For more information please contact a mediation service closest to you or online at

Scottish Mediation

Family Mediation Lothian

Liza Miles Mediation (based in Falkirk)