Justice Minister Simon Hughes has endorsed ‘child focused mediation’.
The MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark gave his backing to mediation centred on the best interests of children in his response to a report published by an external advisory group called the Voice of the Child. This was established by Hughes to explore the inclusion of children and children’s interests in mediation efforts.
The report includes no less than 34 recommendations, of which 16 have now been endorsed by the Ministry of Justice, Family Law Hub reports. Of these, the key recommendation calls for:
“The principle of child inclusive practice and the adoption of a non-legal presumption that all children and young people aged 10 and above should be offered the opportunity to have their voices heard during dispute resolution processes, including mediation, if they wish.”
The Minister notes that ‘child inclusive’ mediation may mean more work and an increase in funding requirements but adds that he is unable to commit to additional funding “at this time”. Nevertheless, Mr Hughes calls for “further consideration” of the additional money required and he has asked civil servants to investigate the issues involved.
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