Privacy and Confidentiality
The privacy of your personal details, whether stored on file or electronically, is assured. The Legal Services Commission may require access to our records in order to audit our Quality Mark standards. We will not pass information to anyone outside of the Surrey & Family Mediation Services organisation without your permission. However, if allegations of harm to a child are made then we have an obligation to contact the relevant authorities.
By providing personal information such as your name and e-mail address via the forms on this website, you agree to us contacting you with regard to the information you request.
Under no circumstances will your personal information be sold or used by any other organisation.
Information we hold about you and how it will be used
Surrey Family and Mediation Service (SFMS) has been given your name and contact details by a referral agency (or by you if you contacted us directly).
While the mediation case is open, we will use this information to make appointments with you and to keep you informed.
All data is stored securely. We will not share your personal information with anyone outside the Mediation Service without your permission.
We will retain your personal information for as long as you are a client, after which time we will store your data for up to 6 years to comply with regulations under the Legal Aid Agency, after which time both paper and electronic records will be securely destroyed.
You have a right to obtain a copy of the personal information we hold about you. You also have a right to ‘be forgotten’ which means you can ask for information we hold about you to be deleted from our records. We can only do this after the case has been closed and in line with Legal Aid Agency regulations. You also have the right to complain to the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) if you think there is a problem with the way we are handling your data.
Discussions in mediation remain confidential, legally privileged and without prejudice and may not be used in evidence against each other should we go to court, though financial facts disclosed in mediation are open and may be used.
Confidentiality is an integral principle of family mediation. Proceedings in mediation are confidential both as between the parties and as between the parties and the mediator.
As a result, even if the parties agree that matters can be referred to outside the mediation, the mediator can enforce the confidentiality provision. The court will generally uphold that confidentiality save where it is necessary in the interests of justice for evidence to be given of confidential matters. In which case the court will order or permit that evidence to be given or produced.
In line with the above, clients are not permitted to record any conversations or any part of a meeting on any device (including mobile phones).
In addition, family mediations are conducted on a without prejudice basis so that there is a “without prejudice” privilege, belonging to the parties to the mediation (as opposed to the mediator), which significantly restricts your entitlement to disclose what happened and/or was said or done during the mediation. In other words the communications are “legally privileged”. This is a privilege that clients can waive by agreement or by order of the court in exceptional circumstances. However, it is subject to the issue of confidentiality.
Some issues will be subject to both the without prejudice privilege and confidentiality. The parties cannot waive confidentiality without the consent of the mediator or an order of the court.
In addition, there may be circumstances in which one participant to the mediation shares
privileged information with the mediator (for example a letter of advice from his/her solicitor). That information is privileged and belongs to the party disclosing it.
The mediator cannot impart that privileged information to the other participant in the mediation or to the court unless the disclosing party waives that privilege or there are exceptional circumstances as defined in the Surrey Family and Mediation Services Confidentiality Policy or an order of the court.
Concerns about safety
Please tell us if you are concerned about your own safety, or the safety of a child, or if you have experienced violence or intimidation. We can make arrangements for separate arrival and departure times, and separate waiting areas if required.
We shall not be liable for any technical, editorial, typographical or other errors or omissions within the information provided on this website, nor shall we be responsible for the content of any web images or information linked to this website.
The materials appearing on this website are provided for general information purposes only. No warranty, whether express or implied is given in relation to such materials.
We welcome constructive comments and feedback about the service provided by Surrey & Family Mediation Services.
A copy of our complaints procedure is available on request firstname.lastname@example.org.
Code of Practice
Surrey Family & Mediation Services adheres to the Family Mediation Council’s Code of Practice FMC Code of Practice.
The Family Mediation Council (FMC) is recognised by the Legal Services Commission and the Ministry of Justice as the regulatory body for family mediation). FMC is the body which sets and maintains high standards for the profession.