The FMC standards state that (family) mediators must “have at least one mediation session observation by their PPC … within two years of completing initial training. The same standards require mediators to gain accreditation within three years of completing initial training.  While these standards have been in place since September 2014, they seem to be coming as something of a shock to many unaccredited mediators.

Trained before 1 January 2015?

So, if you trained at any time before 1 January 2015,  you need to make sure your observations have taken place by the end of 2016. You also need to ensure the FMC or Law Society  (depending on which route you take) receives your portfolio by the end of 2017.

Trained after 1 January 2015?

If you trained after 1 January 2015,  you have 24 months from the date you completed your training to arrange your observations and 36 months to submit your portfolio.

Observation failure = accreditation refusal

If you trained before 1 January 2015 and your PPC has not yet observed you, under the strict interpretation of the FMC standards, your application must be refused. So what does this mean for your accreditation application? Would you be get a second chance or is that it?

Speak to your PPC

First and foremost, speak to your own PPC.

FMC v Law Society

It may make a difference whether you make the application through the FMC or Law Society route.  Ask your PPC for guidance on this.

PPC’s supporting statement

Also, your PPC’s accompanying statement needed in support of every accreditation application will be critical.


But I want you to know that my view is optimistic. Why? Because I cannot see how the FMC is going to fail an applicant who submits, for example, a perfect portfolio, showing the highest levels of competence, yet was not observed until after two years of practise. It makes no sense. What can the FMC do? Tell them they cannot be an accredited mediator? Crazy. Make them have another 2 or 3 observations? Who knows.

Despite the use of the imperative ‘must’ in the guidance, following the rule literally will cause no end of problems for many competent mediators.

I understand the FMC has been asked to reconsider this 2 year observation point because there are many mediators in the same situation. I am confident that the FMC will find a workaround. I doubt though they will have time to address until the new year.

Safety first?

Safety first? You should probably make every effort to arrange an observation before the end of the year. I also recommend you read the Law Society and FMC accreditation documents and decide which one you are going to apply to.


“We’ve received a number of queries from mediator members about the requirement set out in the FMC Standards for mediators to have their practice observed by their PPC as part of their accreditation requirements.”

“The Standards state that “[Between completing training and becoming eligible for accredited status, mediators will need to] have at least one mediation session observed by their PPC (which must not be a session co-mediated with the PPC). This must be within two years of completing initial training and ideally should be near the beginning of the post-training period.”

“It was unclear in The Standards if the two year rule applied to mediators who trained prior to 1 January 2015, so we contacted the FMC for clarification.”

“The FMC has confirmed that for those mediators who trained before 1 January 2015, the two year rule will not be strictly enforced and that it is fine if the observation takes place nearer to the time of submission.”

I am Stephen G Anderson. I am a professional mediator. I am a PPC.


Stephen G Anderson, family mediator

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