Four out of five divorced couples did not consider mediation, new research shows.
Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings(MIAMS) are used to highlight the benefits of mediation and have technically been compulsory since April 2014 for anyone planning to divorce in the family courts or pursue a disagreement regarding children. But research released earlier this year by National Family Mediation (NFM) shows that in fact the vast majority of family litigants ignored them in the year to 2015.
Further research now released by NFM demonstrates that that this trend continued over the first three months of this year. Data obtained from the Ministry of Justice via a Freedom of Information request show that fewer than 4,000 MIAMs took place during that period, compared to nearly 18,000 private family court applications: a take-up of just 22 per cent.
National Family Mediation described the discrepancy as “embarrassing”. CEO Jane Robey said:
“The government’s aim was to introduce a less confrontational alternative to court, but the huge majority are ignoring the law. It’s a shocking government failure. Things are slowly improving but at this rate it will be 2022 before this 2014 policy is actually in place and being properly complied with.”
NB I didn’t write the above but think its useful to read this post below that I wrote last week entirely unaware of these figures coming out which prove my point. I am pretty clear why mediation is failing:- who wants non qualified people sorting out a legal issue? Answer no one. There are answers to this very real problem of clogged courts and it’s solvable by bringing back legal aid that is cost effective and managed correctly and also permitting lawyers to advise both parties and not just hold their hands and say nothing in a mediation.
Image by judy_and_ed via Flickr