Coronation Street

Don’t hesitate to mediate! – Coronation Street

We knew something strange was afoot this morning, we could feel it in our suds – Liverpool stood still for the solar eclipse.  But that was not the only excitement at Sud’s Law.  A little bird told us that a certain David Platt has been spotted filming only a block or two away from Sud’s Law Towers in Liverpool city centre.  Could this be a coincidence or celestial intervention?  Make your own minds up, dear followers.  We cannot wait to watch events filmed in our locality unfolding on our screens.

Back to Weatherfield.  When Coronation Street’s David Platt opened his post last week, what did he find from arch enemy Callum?

A consignment of non-specific drugs?  Road kill?  A glitter bomb?  A one way ticket to visit his dad, the lesser-mentioned Martin Platt, on his Lancashire cheese farm?

No, it was in fact a cordial invitation to join Callum in a thoroughly civilised session of mediation about young Max’s future.  You could have knocked Sud’s Law down with a feather.

Cue a scene in the waiting room with David’s mum Gail Platt proudly showing Callum’s mum pictures of a young David proudly snuggled up to his pet Barney the bunny.  And Callum’s mum telling Gail that her drug dealing bad-lad was in fact a right mummy’s boy as a youngster.  They then bonded over a word puzzle book.  Classic Corrie indeed.

Mediation seems a very civilised and proper way to iron out a disagreement, has Callum turned over a new leaf in suggesting this as a solution?

Where there’s a legal problem in a soap, you can bet your partial eclipse our family law solicitor Rebecca Finnigan will not be too far behind.  What does she say about the matter?

It’s a rare moment on Sud’s Law when we can actually congratulate a soap on getting it right!  Full marks to Coronation Street for portraying mediation on screen, as it is something which has been relevant for a very long time now but is now virtually compulsory for parties looking to bring a case concerning a child to court.

As family law solicitors, we will try to encourage people engaged in disputes about children to resolve their differences in as amicable a manner as possible and to attend mediation.

Mediation is a process whereby the parties to a dispute will attend a meeting (perhaps a series of meetings) with a professionally trained mediator and will try to reach an agreement about the issue in dispute.  In David and Callum’s case, this will be about Max’s living arrangements and contact with his father and his paternal family.

Mediation can often be successful in helping parties to reach an agreement without having to go through the time, expense, and most significantly the stress and upset of court proceedings.

So does this mean Callum has turned over a new leaf, and is adopting a sensible approach?  Unfortunately, not necessarily.

Although mediation has long been encouraged amongst conflicting parties, however it has fairly recently become compulsory for parties to attempt to resolve their differences through mediation and only if no agreement can be reached can their case proceed to be heard and determined by the court.  So it looks as though this is something which Callum has been forced into before he goes to court, as he has threatened to do.

One important point to make to our followers is that not all cases will be appropriate for mediation, and exceptions can be sought where for example there is some urgency such as an imminent risk of child abduction, or there are issues of domestic abuse.

We hate to say we told you so.  But David, we told you so.  If only you had pulled your head out of the sand when you were told you did not have parental responsibility for Max, and made an application to court for a Child Arrangements Order (stopping at mediation on the way), you wouldn’t be in this pickle.

If you need advice about issues relation to children, mediation or any other family law issue details of specialist solicitors can be found through Resolution or the Law Society. Myself and my colleagues within theDivorce and Family Law department at Canter Levin & Berg are as ever happy to oblige.


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Rebecca Finnigan

Rebecca is an accredited member of the Law Society’s Advanced Family Law Panel. She is also a member of the solicitor’s family law association Resolution.

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