Mr Ministrio O Justice and Ms Accessa D Justice have been referred to this service following a breakdown of their relationship, for the purposes of a mediation assessment appointment. I have met with both parties and can report as follows:
- There is a significant power imbalance as Ministrio is the sole breadwinner and Accessa is financially dependent upon him.
- Mr Justice has been accused of serious acts of violence towards Ms Justice and there is concern that both she and the parties' children (Litiganta and Citizen) are vulnerable and at risk of harm. The court may in due course need to make findings about this. There are clearly significant disputes of fact and interpretation that make progress very difficult.
- Throughout our session Mr Justice found it very difficult to be positive about Accessa, and was unable to describe her without resorting to denigratory and belittling language. He was unable to acknowledge her contribution towards the relationship, financially or otherwise.
- When attempting to discuss the issues with Ministrio the conversation had a tendency to become circular as Ministrio repeatedly sought to discuss the immediate financial issues, diverting the discussion away from the broader issues and the longer term consequences of any settlement.
- Ms Justice is emotionally fragile and tells me that she is thinking of "giving up". I am concerned for her welfare.
- The relationship between the parties has (on Accessa's account) been characterised by repeated attempts to bully and control Accessa.
- Mr Ministrio Justice has adopted a very fixed view of what the outcome of the process should be, and is unable to fully engage with the open and honest exploration of the issues that the mediation process depends upon. Mediation is unlikely to be successful unless both parties are ready to adapt their views and compromise.
- There are serious and complex legal issues that we are unable to resolve through this process.
- The communication between the parties is poor and trust is non-existent.
I therefore certify that in my professional opinion this case is not suitable for mediation.
Member of the Institute of (Made Up) Mediators