Family Justice Minister Simon Hughes made the case for mediation during a conference in London this morning.
Speaking before mediation membership organisation the Family Mediators Association, Hughes said he wanted the UK to have the best family justice system possible.
The government was still committed to encouraging more people to use mediation, he claimed, rather than “the confrontational and stressful experience of going to court”.
Going through the court system was “not the sign of a civilised family justice system”, he said.
The government has been pushing mediation as an alternative to the courts for some time. Measures taken to increase take-up include offering a free session for all parties if one qualifies for legal aid.
In the year following the introduction of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO), there was a significant drop in the number of mediation cases. However, this year has seen reports from some charities that family mediation is slowly gaining popularity.
The government’s enthusiasm for mediation has been criticised by legal professionals, but Hughes maintained that it was a “quicker and cheaper” alternative to the courts. He added that mediation has “more amicable outcomes” because both sides have to agree to the terms.