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Abstract

This article explores the education and training needed by family and divorce mediators, and some of the professional obstacles to future educational developments. These matters, and the issues of mediator education, the attitudes of family lawyers and mediators toward each other, and the early disciplinary formation of mediation, are examined through the eyes of family mediators and lawyers practicing in the Greater London area in 1987 and 1988. The study reveals the historical educational shortcomings of practicing mediators and the problematic tendency of untrained mediators to rely on methods adapted from other disciplines. It suggests that limiting mediation practice to members of particular disciplines is unwarranted, and it points out instead the importance of personal mediator characteristics. Although the lawyers and mediators alike recommended fundamental educational improvements, the study notes the need for caution lest educational developments provoke changes in the essential nature of mediation.