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'These figures demonstrate the continuing problems in funding of family cases since LASPO. Although the report indicates that there has been a slight increase in uptake of MIAMS in April - June 2014 compared to the previous quarter, and it is to be hoped that this will continue to raise awareness of the benefits of mediation, there is still a long way to go in addressing the issue of funding family cases.'Speaking of the moderate increase in family mediation assessments in the first quarter of 2014, National Family Mediation (NFM) Chief Executive Jane Robey said:
'As the new government report says, it is too early to accurately assess the long-term impact of the change to the law that makes it compulsory for separating couples to attend a mediation awareness meeting before they can apply for a court order.Figures also show that there were 270 applications for exceptional case funding between April 2014 and June 2014; this was a similar number of applications to the same period the previous year, but a reduction of 99 (27%) from the previous 3 month period.
Data covering NFM affiliated services and mediators for the first six months of 2014 gives us reason to feel cautiously optimistic. It shows that in a number of areas increases of 30 to 40 per cent in the number of people attending mediation compared with the same period in 2013 are common. Our 0300 4000 636 national helpline has been overwhelmed with enquiries in the same period.
NFM’s professional mediators and managers will continue working tirelessly to demonstrate the value of mediation, which is quicker, less stressful and usually cheaper than going to court.
The key to successfully increasing the numbers of people converting from awareness meeting to starting full mediation is often getting them into the room in the first place, with minds that are open to the possibilities mediation offers them to shape their family’s future in an affordable way.'
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