Ewch i’r prif gynnwys

Rachael Blakey

Myfyriwr ymchwil

Mae'r cynnwys hwn ar gael yn Saesneg yn unig.

I joined Cardiff University as an undergraduate student in 2013, studying LLB Law. After being awarded a 1st Class Honours in 2016, I sucessfully received a ESRC funded Studentship. I completed a MSc in Social Science Research Methods (Socio-Legal) in 2017 before commencing my PhD in Law.

My main interests are in family law, particularly family mediation. I am also interested in access to justice, feminist theory, and power. I currently sit on the Student Staff Panel for PGR Law and Politics, and am Health and Safety Officer for Cardiff University Hiking Club.

Diddordebau ymchwil

2017: How Accessible and Relevant is Public Information on Family Mediation?

My Masters' dissertation looked at the accessibility of public documents on family mediation. I analysed documents created by mediation providers and gatekeepers, as well as the most common websites on search engines when searching for advice on divorce. I conducted qualitative content analysis alongside readability formulas. By using a mixed-methods approach, I discovered the widespread use of complex language and legal jargon in documents intended for a public audience. Mediation was positively portrayed throughout, including by gatekeepers who present themselves as neutral bodies. Overall, the study adds to growing calls for an authoritative, online portal for parties' options for family disputes.


March 2018: SLSA Annual Conference 2018, Bristol

Presenting: Family mediation post-LASPO: the Accessibility and Relevance of Public Information

March 2017: SSRM Dissertation Conference 2017, Cardiff

Presented: Are Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings an Effective Gateway to Family Mediation?

Traethawd ymchwil

The Effectiveness of Family Mediation in the Context of a changing Family Justice System

Family mediation is an alternative dispute resolution procedure increasingly promoted by governments since the 1980s, particularly in relation to divorce and relationship breakdown. Following the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO), mediation is now at centre stage of our family justice system. According to the literature, mediation has two key foundations: party power and mediator neutrality. Within mediation, the parties are in control as to the outcome. They resolve the dispute themselves and cannot be forced to accept an agreement. As a result, the parties are conceptualised as autonomous individuals capable of reaching their own decisions. Furthermore, a mediator is a third party who helps parties reach an agreement. They are neutral in the sense they must treat both parties equally and cannot order a specific outcome. Theoretically, mediators lack any power in mediation sessions: they are a guide, not a judge.

However, the literature on family mediation raises questions as to the interpretation of autonomy and neutrality in practice. My thesis will consider how party autonomy and mediator neutrality operate within family mediation in England and Wales and what this means for clients. The overall objective of the thesis is to understand how modern family mediation practice operates, in light of recent changes to the family justice system that have cut legal aid and introduced mandatory Mediation, Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAMs). In particular, the project aims to understand: how are the objectives of mediation and the role of the mediator, particularly in relation to party autonomy and mediator neutrality, conceptualised in family mediation?

The empirical aspect of the project is two-fold. Firstly, Codes of Practice and other regulatory guidance for family mediators in England and Wales will be analysed via content analysis. This enables an understanding of the presentation of mediation from the perspective of its regulatory bodies, as well as how mediators are expected to balance neutrality and autonomy with other important principles found within the documents. Following this, I will move onto the second stage of my research, conducting interviews with mediators from a variety of services to gain information on how they interpret the underpinnings of mediation, the impact of LASPO and their role in the process.

Ffynhonnell ariannu

ESRC 1+3

Leanne Smith

Dr Leanne Smith

Senior Lecturer in Law

Sharon Thompson

Dr Sharon Thompson

Lecturer in Law

Meysydd arbenigol

Proffiliau allanol