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Zen Thompson

Zen Thompson

Nockolds Solicitors Limited


Violence / coercion within the home during lockdown

Zen will talk about his experience of dealing with victims (both adults and children) and perpetrators of domestic abuse from his perspective as a solicitor and mediator.  An important concept in this area is the assessment process known as safeguarding.  Zen will talk about how this is done and how different stakeholders are encouraged to make reports so that not just one referral is relied on, given the shortcomings in the past when abuse and ham has sometimes been missed with tragic consequences.

Schools have been a good way to protect and monitor children and provide them with safe spaces away from issues at home, which has been impacted by the lockdown, and many of the impacts remain after lockdown.  Without the oversight of schools and other stakeholders e.g. GPs, many abusers have felt able to perpetrate abuse which could otherwise have been picked up.

Many abusers pre-lockdown would try to cut their victims off from family and support groups, with the lockdown making isolation worse.  Abusers have then got used to this new level of control and have found it harder to let go after lockdown.  Victims would in the past have some let up when an abuser went out for work and the increase in home working has reduced this relief and home working has continued after lockdown. 

Zen will talk about the different ways family law professionals have assisted vulnerable groups before lockdown, how this has changed during lockdown and subsequently, with both positive and negative consequences. The increased use of Zoom and other platforms has made access to legal advice and mediation easier, but has made picking up safeguarding issues harder and the use of such platforms has become much more standard and is here to stay.


Zen has been a Solicitor in England since 1996 and is recognized by the Law Society as a specialist in Family Law.  Zen works for Nockolds and has offices in Bishop’s Stortford (near Stanstead airport) and in the City of London (near Liverpool Street Station). He is a member of Resolution, a membership body for family law specialists, and has accreditation in children and complex financial cases.  He also sets questions for and marks applications for accreditation to Resolution and was a recommended lawyer in the Legal 500 in 2017 and 2022. An accredited family law mediator since 2011, Zen acts as a professional practice consultant to other mediators and as an assessor for the Law Society for mediators seeking accreditation. 

Zen is qualified to talk to children in mediation and is a consultant for mediators in other organisations, organising mediation groups in Hertfordshire (Pathway Hertfordshire) and East Anglian Family Mediators. He has provided internal training on negotiation and soft skills and also external training to Judges, Magistrates, and Law Degree Undergraduates on mediation and is a member of the Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire collaborative law groups, qualified to provide collaborative law, which is a specialist model of negotiation in family law cases. Zen has a wide experience of advocacy at court and has represented clients all the way through to final hearings in a variety of cases including injunctions, finances, children cases and international relocation cases. His clients have included business owners, directors of PLCs, policemen, professional sportsmen and lottery winners. Zen is a Children Arbitrator through the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators, part of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, and can deal with children issues including international relocation and is also a Civil Mediators with the Civil Mediation Council and mediates on neighbour disputes, boundary disputes, money disputes and workplace issues.

Married with two children, a football season ticket holder, beekeeper and tai chi practitioner.


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