Recent Legal Aid Statistics show decline in Family Mediation
The recent statistics published by the Ministry of Justice show
that 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 of
mediation assessments for the last quarter (2,895) are the lowest
since the last quarter of 2013 (2,861).
Family Mediation involves an independent and impartial
professionally accredited mediator discussing problems with a
divorcing or separating couple. Family mediation can be used
to resolve issues to do with children or property and
finances. The process is cheaper and quicker than using the
courts and it also allows for a more flexible approach. Changes in
legislation in April 2014 mean that most divorcing couples must now
attend a MIAM before a matter can go to court.
A MIAM is the initial stage of the mediation process and
involves a meeting between one or both parties and a
mediator. The mediator will explain to you what your options
might be, what mediation is and how it works, the benefits of
mediation and other appropriate forms of resolving disputes, the
likely costs of using mediation and if you are eligible for free
mediation and Legal Aid.
Following the introduction of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and
Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) which was introduced in
April 2013 the number of MIAM appointments fell sharply from over
900,000 to around 400,000. Since then MIAMs have fluctuated
and though they were down compared to the previous year, they
appear to be stabilising at around half of pre-LASPO levels.
Posted on: 14/04/2016
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.
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