On 1 December 2012 the Ministry of Justice released a new version of the Family Mediation Information and Assessment Form (FM1). The form should be completed by anyone applying to the Courts for assistance in resolving a dispute about parenting or finances following relationship breakdown.
This requirement forms part of the Pre-Application Protocol for Private Law Proceedings, issued by the President of the Family Division in April 2011. This asks that parties involved in disputes of this nature attend a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM) to learn about mediation before making an application to the Courts.
While there is at present no legal requirement to file form FM1 on application, the Ministry of Justice anticipate a more robust approach across the Courts in implementing the requirements of the Pre-Application Protocol.
Changes to the form include highlighting the requirement for Part 2 of the form to be signed off by an accredited mediator, one who is affiliated to one of the Member Organisations of the Family Mediation Council and trained to carry out MIAMs.