Rise in private law could indicate mediation failure

Mediation|August 27th 2015

A recent rise in ‘private’ family cases could mean efforts to encourage mediation are ineffective, Resolution has claimed.

The family law organisation highlighted recent figures from Cafcass showing a steady increase in legal disputes between individuals involving children: the number of such cases referred to the service has now risen when compared to last year for the third month in a row.

The number of private cases referred to Cafcass in July was 23 per cent up on the same month the previous year while the June figure represented an increase of no less than 33 per cent. Meanwhile, cases referred in May was 31 per cent up on the private law caseload 12 months previously.

Helen Greenfield is a family law associate at Resolution. She said the figures accurately represented day-to-day reality in family law firms.

“The monthly increase is something some Resolution members are seeing reflect in their practice. It is difficult to attribute a precise reason for the increase, but it may be due to the failure of MIAMs to effectively channel people into mediation.”

Restrictions on legal aid mean that many divorcing couples do not seek any legal advice and therefore believe that a family court hearing is the only option open to them.

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