A BBC soap storyline has seen calls about mediation to the Family team at Manchester’s Slater Heelis Solicitors increase since the EastEnders episode was aired on Tuesday (23 April) night.

Michael Moon, played by Steve John Shepherd, was pictured seeking advice from a family lawyer about how best to separate from his estranged wife Janine Butcher (Charlie Brooks), who left him and their daughter Scarlett in 2012 and recently made a dramatic return to the soap.  Mediation, which offers a quicker and often simpler alternative to traditional divorce, was recommended by the on screen family lawyer as the best way to proceed.legal aid manchester

Since the programme aired the Slater Heelis Family team has experienced an increase in the number of enquiries specifically about mediation.

Wendy Buckley, a Solicitor and Mediation lawyer at Slater Heelis, is currently campaigning to raise awareness of mediation as a faster, cheaper way to help families resolve divorce cases and welcomes the show’s storyline. Wendy says: “I watched the episode of EastEnders when it aired on Tuesday and was really pleased to see that such a high profile show was featuring it. When couples come to divorce, being offered mediation as an option can make a huge difference to their short and long-term future, especially if children are concerned, as in this storyline.  We have seen numerous calls on Wednesday asking about mediation, which can only be a positive thing, especially in the light of the recent cuts to legal aid.”

Mediation is usually considerably cheaper than traditional divorce cases and puts couples with an independent mediator to reach agreement for the best way forward for all concerned, without the need for contested court hearings. It can cover their financial future and arrangements for the children in a civilised and quick process.


The Slater Heelis Family Law team is the largest in South Manchester and Wendy Buckley is one of the firm’s trained Mediators. Wendy originally trained back in 1999, subsequently becoming a Resolution Accredited Mediator and sees mediation as a less controversial way of resolving the issues that arise out of relationship breakdown as well as being a quicker and cheaper option for couples.

Slater Heelis LLP is a respected and long-established full service law firm based in South Manchester that has been awarded Lexcel, the national Law Society’s law management quality mark, for ten years running. With origins dating back to 1773, Slater Heelis LLP now employs over 70 people who offer in-depth legal expertise to commercial and private clients across the fields of employment, property, corporate and commercial, litigation, family, conveyancing and wills and trusts.  Slater Heelis LLP works with a diverse client base that ranges from sports personalities and entrepreneurs, to national PLC’s, local government and not-for profit organisations.