Separating couples to be forced to consider mediation option

by Philip Wild on March 21, 2013

From April separating couples will be required to consider whether their disputes can be settled by mediation rather than through the courts, justice minister Jonathan Djanogly has announced. Under a new protocol, agreed with the judiciary, all parties will be required to attend a mediation awareness session, either together or separately, to find out if mediation is appropriate for them. However, in cases where there are allegations of domestic violence or where there are child protection issues, cases will progress straight to court without the requirement to access mediation. Sandra Meakins, a partner specialising in Family Law at Kidd Rapinet’s Farnham office says: “Clients need to be re-assured this is not a blanket provision. We know mediation won’t be right for everyone. It won’t suit some people, who should be free to explore other avenues including court, or for those in serious or dangerous circumstances, for examples in cases of domestic violence or child protection. ‘They will not be prevented from progressing straight to court.’

 

The protocol, which already applies to legally aided parties, will come into effect for privately funded people from 6 April. Sandra Meakins comments: “Seeking advice from properly qualified solicitors is essential if clients are to go down the most appropriate route.”

If you feel you may need advice, Kidd Rapinet can advise you on the latest law in this field. Call the contact for your local office for further information:

 

  • Aylesbury: Edel McMahon (01296 432541)
  • Farnham: Sandra Meakins (01252 713242)
  • High Wycombe: Katie Banks (01494 535321)
  • London: Richard Tymkiw (020 7024 8065)
  • Maidenhead: Kathryn Coyle (01628 621301)
  • Slough: Chris Comley (01753 532541)