Keywords: Mediation - Family Justice System - MIAMS - Legal Aid
The Family Justice System is undergoing radical reorganisation in the wake of the Family Justice Review and the Government Response. Recognised family mediators are being asked to play an extended role in providing information and encouraging consideration of dispute resolution, as a pre-requisite for most applications to the family court. This article examines some concerns about the proper functions and competence of family mediators in undertaking this role in ways that do not put vulnerable adults or children at risk or endanger the essential ethos of mediation. It seeks to contribute to the ongoing debate about a new system that will expect separating couples to resolve issues largely by themselves, with little access to legal services. In particular it questions the recommendation of the Norgrove Report, examined by Doughty and Murch in a recent article, that mediators should form part of a new Family Justice Service working under the control of the judge as case-manager.
The full version of this article appears in issue 2 of 2013 of Child and Family Law Quarterly.