Family Justice Minister: ‘mediation works’

Family Law|September 25th 2014

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.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. Guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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Comments(3)

  1. David mortimer says:

    Compulsion required for mediation to work, concludes Constitutional Affairs Committee

    Family Law Week – 12th June 2006

    The Constitutional Affairs select committee has published a short report on the progress of initiatives in the family courts. It follows a day of oral evidence on 2 May given by the President, Sir Mark Potter, with the help of Mr Justice Munby, District Judge Nicholas Crichton and Audrey Damazer from the Justices’ Clerks Society.

    The report tackles several issues including court transparency and funding but reserves some of the heaviest criticism for the Family Court Resolution pilot project branding it a ‘failure’ and urging some form of compulsion for both private and publicly funded couples.

    The committee was pleased ‘that there appears to be some movement on the issue of transparency’ but also warned that funding difficulties were causing delay and hoped ‘that the Department will facilitate the “cascading down” of cases to the Family Proceedings Courts, as suggested by the judiciary. To do this, it needs to provide sufficient legal advisers, ensure that any vacancies continue to be filled and remedy the lack of additional District Judges (Magistrates Court) working full time on family cases.’

    I wrote to Margaret Hodge to ask her why she believes voluntary mediation works after the Lord Chancellor stated on 16th January 2001- it did not, but Esporanca Harvey from the DCA Family Justice Division replied instead telling me that family mediation should not be confused with information meetings, So I rang Esporanca Harvey to ask her what happens at these information meetings if one parent simply dose not agree and she said that it dose not work.

  2. Guest says:

    Judging from that picture above, I can only think that the future of family law is just more wreckage piled upon wreckage.

  3. jamesp says:

    Of course its quicker and cheaper. Its an absolute no brainer and couples should be guided by their lawyers. For some strange reason they are not ;-)$$$$$$$$$$

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