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Mediation Publishing

Mediating Family Inheritance Disputes

Mediating Family Inheritance Disputes

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Andrew Sims
Independent Mediator

Keywords: Family, inheritance, mediation, fairness, model, practice

Abstract: Family inheritance disputes are on the rise across England and Wales and mediation is starting to play an increasingly important role in resolving and preventing them. These conflicts are often driven by complex family dynamics, deep-rooted family tensions, strong emotion, and strained communication.  This article seeks to define family inheritance mediation as a distinctive specialist field of mediation. It is based on the author’s experience and reflections and is informed by a family mediation perspective. It considers what a family inheritance mediation model might look like and how it can address differing perceptions of fairness, equality, and entitlement among family members, which frequently lie at the heart of these disputes. The paper argues that further empirical research is needed to inform additional specialist training, appropriate mediator support and choice of practice models, to enable family inheritance mediation to become a sustainable and established area of practice.

Author Biography: Andrew Sims is an independent mediator, trainer and consultant. He studied social psychology at university and comes from a business background. Andrew has been in full-time mediation practice since 2010, working across many fields, including family, civil/commercial, workplace/employment, community, homelessness prevention and special educational needs and disability (SEND) mediation. He is an accredited family mediator (FMCA), a professional practice consultant and a fellow of the Civil Mediation Council, and mediates with a range of practices, mostly in London and the southeast of England. He was appointed as an independent mediator to the Government (DCLG) Planning Mediation Services Panel in 2012, and held the post of service manager at the South-East London Family Mediation Bureau from 2016 to 2019. He is a member of the College of Mediators’ Professional Standards Committee. Andrew is the author of a chapter entitled ‘Exploring the scope of family mediation in England & Wales’ in Family Mediation: Contemporary Issues, edited by Marian Roberts and Maria Federica Moscati (Bloomsbury Professional, 2020).

Publication Date:  15 April 2023

Citation: Sims, A (2023)  Mediating Family Inheritance Disputes, Journal of Mediation Theory and Practice, 7-1, 21-33. 

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