Recent Legal Aid Statistics show decline in Family Mediation
The recent statistics published by the Ministry of Justice showthat the number of Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings(MIAMs) in the period of October to December 2015 was down by 16%on a year ago. Figures also show that the total number ofmediation assessments for the last quarter (2,895) are the lowestsince the last quarter of 2013 (2,861).
Family Mediation involves an independent and impartialprofessionally accredited mediator discussing problems with adivorcing or separating couple. Family mediation can be usedto resolve issues to do with children or property andfinances. The process is cheaper and quicker than using thecourts and it also allows for a more flexible approach. Changes inlegislation in April 2014 mean that most divorcing couples must nowattend a MIAM before a matter can go to court.
A MIAM is the initial stage of the mediation process andinvolves a meeting between one or both parties and amediator. The mediator will explain to you what your optionsmight be, what mediation is and how it works, the benefits ofmediation and other appropriate forms of resolving disputes, thelikely costs of using mediation and if you are eligible for freemediation and Legal Aid.
Following the introduction of the Legal Aid, Sentencing andPunishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) which was introduced inApril 2013 the number of MIAM appointments fell sharply from over900,000 to around 400,000. Since then MIAMs have fluctuatedand though they were down compared to the previous year, theyappear to be stabilising at around half of pre-LASPO levels.
This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.