Family Mediation Team
Mary Banham-Hall LLB FMCA Family Mediator Collaborative Family Lawyer
Mary is a member of the Family Mediators’ Association and also of Resolution, so she is committed to a constructive and less adversarial approach to resolving family disputes. Mary’s Resolution accreditation in Advanced Financial Provision (substantial or complex cases and pensions) equips her to handle the most difficult cases - often helping clients save tens of thousands of pounds in tax, as well as protecting valuable final salary pensions. Mary was one of the first 100 Collaborative Lawyers in the country and has resolved many divorces in this way.
Suzy Ashworth FMCA Family Mediator
Suzy’s mediation practice focuses on enabling clients to make decisions that will lead to lasting, practical and tolerable arrangements, and helping parents to build co-operation skills to serve their children’s best interests, with a firm focus on the future. Suzy currently mediates in Bedford.
Adrian Wright External Professional Practice Consultant and visiting Senior Mediator
Elaine Clarke FMCA Family Mediator
A member of Resolution and the Family Mediators Association, Elaine is committed to helping her clients find their own path through the difficulties of separation and divorce. She says “I believe with the help of a mediator, separating couples can make their own arrangements for separating, rather than battling through the courts. This is usually much better for them and their families, as well as being quicker and costing less, both financially and emotionally”.
Caroline Friend FMCA Family Mediator Collaborative Family Lawyer
Caroline switched from being a solicitor to full-time mediation because she believes in encouraging people to settle their differences rather than fight about them. So often, disagreements arise through misunderstandings or lack of information about the other person, and this can be cleared up quickly and effectively in a supported conversation. Her calm, balanced approach has led to some extraordinary results in difficult cases.
MA Oxon, UK College of Mediators.
Rachel Lander Family Mediator
Rachel continued to practise as a Family Solicitor, embracing Mediation and Collaborative Law when she could. After 20 years working mainly in Legal 500 commercial law firms and subsequently a top tier niche family practice, (where she remains a Consultant Solicitor), Rachel joined Focus Mediation in 2016, having made the decision to pursue Mediation wholeheartedly and to make it the mainstay of her work. She is a member of Resolution and is currently compiling a portfolio for accreditation with the Family Mediation Council. She works closely with Mary and her other colleagues at Focus. Rachel mediates primarily in Milton Keynes and Northampton.
Rachel believes that Mediation requires hard work and commitment from all involved and is not therefore the soft option that some people portray. However, she states that “the rewards for perseverance are plenty, not least a swifter and less costly alternative to court. Mediation is forward looking with the couple retaining control of the final decision. They have a far greater chance of a civilised relationship in the future, imperative when there are children involved (of whatever age!). Whilst Mediation can mean having to confront uncomfortable emotions at times, it can help enormously with the journey through to the next chapter in life and overall help to enable that transition to be a more positive experience. Mediation is about so much more than legalities; it is about people”.
Joanna Chawla LLB FMCA Family Mediator
With a wealth of experience in family mediation Joanna works with parents and children in a non-adversarial, collaborative way to help them find solutions that are affordable for them and their family, solutions that are fair and that will work.
Separating is one of the most stressful experiences anyone ever has to face. Mediation offers couples a space in which to focus on the issues they face and explore their options, as they separate out their former lives together, until they feel able to make decisions they can be confident will work for them and their family, because they have made them together.
Emma Bugg FMCA Family Mediator Collaborative Family Lawyer
Emma is a member of the College of Mediators and is qualified to Directly Consult with Children (DCC) and also as a Professional Practice Consultant (PPC). Emma is also Accredited by the Family Mediation Council.
As a family mediator, Emma helps separating couples to resolve issues in a way that suits their family and avoid the emotional and financial cost of going to court.
Sara Stoner FMCA Family Mediator
Communication at this time is often strained or has completely broken down. Couples may feel that there is no viable alternative to court proceedings. However, Sara feels that spending thousands of pounds litigating and delegating decisions about finances and child arrangements to a Judge, leaves people feeling powerless and afraid. The adversarial nature of litigation increases and magnifies discord and when the court case concludes, parents are expected to forget any hurt inflicted during the process, put their differences to ones side and amicably co-parent their children together.
Sara says mediation requires significant commitment and hard work from clients. However, the rewards are well worth the effort. Mediated proposals are practical, fit for purpose, tailor made for each client's needs and often creative and forward thinking. Clients often leave mediation with improved communication. Children benefit enormously, as their parents can then co-parent amicably and effectively.
Sara is professional, friendly and empathetic. She remains calm under pressure. Her family law and mediation experience helps to ensure that she is a very safe pair of hands. Sara guides clients through the mediation process, so they can each move forward and make practical provisions for a positive future.
Sara works from our Potters Bar and Broxbourne offices.
Nicola Lewis FMCA Family Mediator
Nicola now works as a family mediator for Focus and works mainly in the London and Watford offices.
Nicola is committed to helping couples to communicate during difficult times. As well as using her legal background and experience, Nicola has also trained in mediation based on non-violent communication: she can assist couples in working out how they will communicate going forwards as parents in a way that is positive and beneficial for their children (and often for themselves too) as well as sorting out practicalities such as the financial issues.