Family Court Practice, The
Order the 2021 edition due out in May
Court of Protection Practice 2021
'Court of Protection Practice goes from strength to strength, having...
Jackson's Matrimonial Finance Tenth Edition
Jackson's Matrimonial Finance is an authoritative specialist text...
Latest articles
Re M (Special Guardianship Order: Leave To Apply To Discharge) [2021] EWCA Civ 442
(Court of Appeal (Civil Division), Peter Jackson, Baker, Elisabeth Laing LJJ, 26 March 2021)Public Law Children – Special guardianship – Leave to apply to discharge SGO – Refusal...
AB v CD & Ors [2021] EWHC 741 (Fam)
(Family Division, Lieven J, 26 March 2021)Medical treatment - Gender Dysphoria – Consent – Young person prescribed puberty blockers – Decision in Bell – Whether parents could...
Re H-N And Others (Children) (Domestic Abuse: Finding of Fact Hearings) [2021] EWCA Civ 448
(Court of Appeal (Civil Division), President, King, Holroyde LJJ, 30 March 2021)Private law children - Domestic Abuse – Fact finding – ApproachThe Court of Appeal provided guidance in four...
Unequal chances? Ethnic disproportionality in child welfare and family justice
Many have experienced their own Black Lives Matter moment in the last 12 months, a sharp realisation of entrenched prejudices and inequalities that still exist in our society.In the family justice...
Violence Against Women and Girls Call for Evidence reopened
The government is seeking views to help inform the development of the next Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy. They are particularly keen to hear from people who may feel...
View all articles

Cash-backed drive to divert separating parents from court is welcome

Apr 9, 2021, 12:56 PM
Slug :
Meta Title : Cash-backed drive to divert separating parents from court is welcome
Meta Keywords :
Canonical URL :
Trending Article : Yes
Prioritise In Trending Articles : Yes
Date : Apr 9, 2021, 12:56 PM
Article ID :

This month saw the low-key government launch of a £1 million drive to improve the take-up of family mediation for separating families with children.

Vouchers are being made available to cover up to £500 of a separating family’s mediation bill. Those who are eligible for legal aid are expected to continue to use that avenue of funding for their mediation. But in cases where only one of the two adults involved is legal aid-eligible, the voucher can be used to fund the other. The limit of £500 applies per case, not per party.

For many years we’ve heard a succession of government Ministers use warm supportive words about family mediation being a better alternative to the lawyer-court room route for separating families. With the voucher scheme the government is now putting some money where its mouth has been, which has to be warmly welcomed.

The aim is clearly to divert people from courts, whose post-LASPO Act logjams have been multiplied hugely by the impact of the pandemic. Writing a £1 million cheque for these vouchers can only help towards meeting this aim.

It’s a short-term measure since, by definition, around 2,000 families will benefit. 

And significantly the voucher will not cover the cost of the initial MIAM meeting. That is of course the first stage at which most separating couples first learn about the benefits of mediation. So, on the face of it, it’s only those who are perhaps already at least ‘semi-committed’ to mediation that will benefit.

One of the purposes of the scheme is to generate much-needed data for the Ministry of Justice about mediation clients, including knowing whether the voucher genuinely acts as a carrot to attract people away from court and into mediation. The outcomes of mediation and the next steps taken after mediation by the 2,000 or so beneficiary families will also be analysed.

I hope and trust this information will then be used to determine and shape future initiatives aimed at persuading people of the many merits of family mediation.

Some of us recall how six years ago the government of the day took a slightly different tack, with a funded promotional campaign. Spending about a third of what is dedicated to the vouchers, the campaign saw the creation of videos and ads, aimed at informing people about family mediation’s benefits.

That campaign itself was short-lived, and the very nature of family separation is such that unless promotional work is continual and ongoing, you are only ever going to capture those undergoing a family crisis at that particular moment in time.

I’ve no doubt that mediation professionals across the country will embrace the voucher initiative.

And we will keenly await the outcome of the MoJ number-crunching and, crucially, what measures might follow in the scheme’s wake.

Categories :
  • Articles
Tags :
  • Divorce
  • Separation
Provider :
Product Bucket : Family
Load more comments
Comment by from