Able Mediation Complaints Procedure

Our complaints procedure complies with the Family Meditation Council (FMC) Code of Practice and is designed to assist in the swift and satisfactory resolution of any complaint.

We aim to respond promptly and respectfully to any complaint, formal or informal.  The views of our clients are important to us.  We will therefore make every effort to use these views in a constructive manner, to continually improve the way that we practice.

What is a complaint


A complaint is any experience of dissatisfaction or concern, however it is expressed and by whoever it is expressed.

A complaint against a mediator must relate to breaches of the FMC’s Codes of Practice or Standards Framework that occurred during the last three months.  For the avoidance of doubt, for complaints that relate to the way a mediation was conducted as a whole, the date the three months runs from is the date of last mediation session.

Complaints that appear to be vexatious or of a purely personal nature do not have to be investigated (see over).

Who can complain

Any client, former client or qualifying third party (see over).

How we handle complaints

  1. In the first instance, we ask clients to address any concern or dissatisfaction informally with the mediator, who will listen respectfully and try to resolve the matter.

  2. For clients that still feel dissatisfied, we ask that concerns are put in writing, via email or letter, for a thorough consideration of the complaint. This is likely to include consultation with another experienced mediator in the business and/or the mediators external Professional Practice Consultant.  Written complaints will be acknowledged within 10 working days of receipt and responded to within 30 working days of receipt.  On occasion, further time may be required, in which case clients will be notified in writing.

  3. Where we recognise that a complaint is justified, we will offer appropriate redress. Examples of this could include an apology, reimbursement of fees, an explanation of process or regulations, or assurances for the future.

  4. Mediation of the complaint is also an option, where both the complainant and the mediator wish for it.

  5. If the client is still not satisfied by the mediators response after completing the above stages of our procedure, as long as the complaint mets the criteria as set out above, they can ask the Family Mediation Standards Board (FMSB) to consider the complaint. The process for making a complaint to the FMSB can be found here.

Qualifying third parties

The following qualify as third parties who can make a complaint against a mediator:
  • A prospective client who has been directly affected by a mediator’s professional behaviour;
  • A person who has been invited to participate in a mediation process, for example another professional who attends a mediation.
For the avoidance of doubt, it is common for a mediator to contact a potential mediation participant after seeing the other potential mediation participant. Complaints about a mediator making contact with a potential participant do not therefore need to be investigated by mediators and will not be accepted by the FMSB. Likewise, mediators may sign court forms to say one person has attended a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) without notifying a potential second mediation participant or inviting them to attend MIAM themselves. Complaints about a mediator not making contact with a potential participant do not therefore need to be investigated by mediators and will not be accepted by the FMSB. Please note that neither mediators nor the FMSB will be able to disclose any information to you that is confidential between the mediator and the mediation participant(s). It is therefore normal that as a third party, you will only receive a limited amount of information in response to your complaint, even in circumstances where it is considered by the FMSB.

Complaints that appear to be vexatious or of a purely personal nature

Complaints that appear to be vexatious or of a purely personal nature do not have to be investigated by mediators. Complaints can be considered vexatious when:

  • the purpose appears to be to intimidate, disturb, disrupt and/or unduly or unfairly pressurise the mediator or the FMSB;
  • they are persistent/repetitive, and repeating the same or substantially similar complaints which have already been investigated;
  • they are clearly unfounded and unsupported by evidence;
  • they are irrelevant and relate to matters other than mediation;
  • abusive or offensive language is used.
Complaints can be considered of a purely personal nature if they are discriminatory or focus on the personal attributes or circumstances of a mediator rather than their actions as a mediator.
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