Membership of the Law Society’s family mediation scheme will be extended to all qualified family mediators from April. Currently membership is restricted to solicitors and fellows of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives.

From April, mediators competence-assessed by the Family Mediation Council will be able to passport across to the Law Society panel; and those seeking first-time competence assessment or accreditation will be able to apply directly for panel membership.

The Society said the expansion is a response to changes in family justice, which encourages greater mediation, and prepares for the government’s introduction of a single standard for publicly and privately funded mediation.

In preparation for increased demand, the Law Society has said it will be introducing a new, streamlined accreditation and assessment process and ‘substantial’ price reductions.

Membership is currently set at two rates depending on experience level - £120 for two years and £540 for five years.