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Lord McNally tells mediators to seize their chance

Minister of State for Justice Lord McNally has told family mediators that “your time is now”.

Speaking at the annual conference of the Family Mediation Council at UCL yesterday, the peer told attendees:

“My message to you as practitioners and supervisors is simple – your time is now. You now have a once in a generation opportunity to raise the profile of your profession, as a single and united profession.”

In January, Lord McNally  announced an additional £10 million in funding for family mediation, bring the total available over 2013 to £25 million.

The government also made Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAMs) compulsory for anyone planning to go to court to resolve family issues in the recently published Children and Families Bill. These are designed to present information on mediation and allow individuals to decide whether it might be appropriate for their particular case.

Lord McNally is current leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Marc Lopatin says:

    Family mediators to the rescue? Really? Here’s a view of the Minister’s call to arms.

  2. Kirsten Naude says:

    I raised this recently at a legal aid event and will continue to do so. The LAA is in the process of cutting its budget down to £1.5 million and continues to do so, this includes redudancies to staff. On one hand they are saying they’re pumping money into and promoting mediation, but on the other, they’ve just narrowed all the criteria for access to legal aid in mediation. What we are finding at NFM from 1st April is that 1/3 of our clients that were previously eligible for legal aid are no longer eligible. My question is – does this mean that they’re going to have a surplus in this £25 million legal aid for mediation budget? Because mediation providers aren’t using it, because people are falling outside of scope – what happens to the leftover money in the budget? My guess – as cynical as it may be – is that government will say: ‘oh well, mediation providers didn’t need it anyway, so where can we move it…which other budget needs topping up’. The money will be moved away from mediation, and who knows…might be cut as part of the larger legal aid cuts by the year 2017. Gird your loins, people.

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