In a tough, unfair world you are essential. You get answers and a change to see faces over the table.

Call for Independent Mediation Centre - Isle of Man

Call for Independent Mediation Centre - Isle of Man

An internationally-renowned mediator is calling for an independent mediation centre to be set up in the Island.

Frank Hanna, who has both mediated in family cases and trained mediators, was giving evidence to a Tynwald select committee on the care and upbringing of children.

He said to be successful, the centre needed to be independent of both government and advocates.

At the centre, volunteer mediators would offer their help free of charge and it would also provide training to those interested in being a mediator.

Committee chairman Juan Turner asked Mr Hanna whether he thought mediation should be compulsory before parties can go to court.

Mr Hanna said a cultural change was needed: ‘Mediation should be desired by people, they should not be forced into it.’

The practicalities and feasibility of the centre, including how it would be funded and whether volunteer mediators would come forward, was raised by committee members.

Rushen MHK Phil Gawne said: ‘I think it sounds like a really good idea.

‘It’s just how we make it happen.’

The Isle of Man Courts of Justice has a voluntary mediation scheme.

For defendants to receive legal aid, they must have gone down this route first before taking their case to court.

The committee was set up in December 2013 to consider and report on a petition for redress of grievance presented at Tynwald Day last year by Philip Walmsley who is seeking a review of the law relating to the care and upbringing of children, especially in cases of broken marriages and other relationships.

In child residence and contact cases, Mr Walmsley believes both parents have equal rights and responsibilities over their child, where their is no history of domestic abuse, neglect or violence from either parent.

And he has called for parents to attend a minimum of three compulsory mediation sessions before entering a court room, in an attempt to resolve any underlying problems or issues, the cost of which should be shared by both parents.

Read the full article via IOM Today here