The number of people choosing mediation to solve their family disputes is still lower than it was before LASPO, new figures reveal.
Since the introduction of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) in April 2013, there has been a notable drop in the number of ‘mediation starts’. These are family disputes in which the parties have begun the process of mediation in order to come to a resolution.
While figures from the Ministry of Justice show a 20 per cent rise in the number of people taking this option in the third quarter of the year, the total number of starts is still 46 per cent lower than it was before LASPO came into effect.
According to the new statistics, legal aid for family cases is also down. There was a four per cent drop in the number of cases involving legal aid between July and September.
When LASPO was implemented, legal aid for family cases was eliminated except in cases where there is proven domestic violence. It is still possible to apply for “exceptional case funding” in order to secure legal aid.
However, the latest figures show that out of 130 applications for such funding, only five were granted. Ninety-two applications were refused and a further 31 were rejected. The remaining two applications were still awaiting a decision upon the report’s publication.