In 2013/14, more parents attended court without a lawyer than with one as the number of unrepresented parties surged by more than 19,000 in the first full year of LASPO. The article argues this is symptomatic of a fundamental and enduring misalignment of lawyers and mediators that restricts the emergence of multi-disciplinary resolution services capable of meeting the diverse needs of separating families. No one professional lawyer or mediator can do this alone as evidenced by the huge number of people that avoid family law services altogether and the very small number that seek out mediators as their first port of call.
The article sets out that disruptive innovation being forced onto providers in wake of LAPSO offers an historic opportunity to recast family law services with effective communication at the core. It describes a hybrid lawyer/mediator model currently being piloted in four UK hubs built upon affordability and price certainty. A collateral benefit will be helping separating partners manage their emotional impulse to hurt back because they themselves hurt so badly. The paper argues this is truly is in the best interest of the child and proffers that if LASPO could ever be said to have a silver lining, this is surely it.
The full version of this article appears in the October 2014 issue of Family Law
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