What we charge
- Each information and assessment session (lasting up to an hour) costs £125 and involves only one mediator.
- Any additional session before the mediation begins (usually this will be what we call a planning session) costs £125 per hour per client and will involve two mediators.
- Mediation sessions involving Philippa Johnson thereafter are charged at £200 per hour per client; those involving Venetia Tosswill and Devorah Greenberg without Philippa are charged at £160 per hour per client; those involving Harriet without Philippa, Venetia or Devorah are charged at £150 per hour per client. In all cases we charge pro rata for any period of time of less than an hour. If separate mediation sessions take place both clients are charged for the mediators’ time, if both mediators are actively involved during any separate meetings.
- A fee of £500 is charged for any other documentation clients ask us to prepare (shared between the clients as they choose).
- Additional work between sessions is covered by the session fee, except for preparation of any open statement of financial information, summary of proposals or parenting plan, each of which (as above) costs £500.
- It is usual to provide a session record or letter at the end of each session; we do not charge for this but reserve the right not to provide such a letter if in our professional opinion it will harm the mediation process to do so.
Most mediation sessions last for an hour and a half, and therefore cost between £480 and £600 (depending on who your mediators are); this cost is divided between you. Mediation usually involves three to six sessions. We do not charge for preparing for the sessions, or for writing letters between sessions, but we do charge for the creation of the formal paperwork that may be produced in the course of the mediation – £500 for a Open Statement of Financial Information and £500 for a Summary of Proposals or Parenting Plan, again divided equally between you. The total cost of mediation is therefore likely to be between about £2,000 and £5,000, shared between you. If the mediation is successful, there are likely to be some additional legal costs, but these should be relatively limited.
In England the current hourly rate for an average High Street solicitor qualified to work with families is about £200 plus VAT, while specialist solicitors in London charge anything up to £700 an hour. How many hours you will be charged for depends entirely on how many hours the solicitors need to spend dealing with your case; each of you will need a separate solicitor, and the legal costs of going to court are rarely less than £20,000, rising to much more in complicated cases.
The cost of divorce in the courts
Judges often refer to the large number of cases that involve ‘disproportionate’ costs, meaning cases in which the legal costs of the argument consume an unacceptably high proportion of the assets in dispute. Whether or not the mediation enables the couple to reach a legally-binding agreement, the legal costs are likely to be lower following mediation than they would be otherwise, because during the mediation the couple will, at the very least, have the opportunity to discuss the issues face to face, identifying the key areas of disagreement and concern.
'Academic research has found that if separating couples are willing to participate, mediation can help them settle disputes more cheaply, more quickly and less acrimoniously than is possible either through the courts or through legal representation.'
National Audit Office report, 2007