Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting Compulsory from 22 April 2014
Author : Debra-Stevens
Changes from 22 April 2014
From 22 April 2014, it will be necessary for anyone who wants to issue any type of family proceedings to have to attended a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM). Previously solicitors could tick a box on the relevant paperwork to say that a MIAM is not necessary and the Court would not question this. The change in the law brought about by s10 of the Children and Families Act now means that Courts will not be able to proceed with family applications (except in certain cases such as where emergency applications are needed or where there has been recent domestic violence) without the parties considering mediation. The Courts will also require a full explanation if it is stated on an application form that a person is exempt from attending a MIAM.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is an alternative way of resolving disputes between people. A mediator enables people in dispute to negotiate and reach an agreement acceptable to both. This can avoid the need for court action and reduce costs if successful.
So why has the law changed?
Until April 2013, it was compulsory for parties receiving legal aid to have been referred to mediation before court proceedings could be issued. funding was withdrawn for most family cases in Aprill 2013 so the number of people being referred to mediation dramatically reduced. The Government had hoped that with the removal of legal aid in most cases, people would attend mediation without being referred by a solicitor, but this has not happened. Instead, more people are issuing court applications themselves in family cases, causing delays in the court system.
What does this mean for me?
If you are currently experiencing a dispute about any family matter e.g. you are experiencing difficulties seeing your children or have separated and want to resolve financial matters, before you can issue your application at Court you will need to provide proof from a mediator that you have considered mediation and that it is either unsuitable, the other person is not prepared to attend or mediation has been unsuccessful. Only a mediator can sign the paperwork permitting you to issue an application at Court.
How much will this cost me?
All mediators are able to set their own charges for the MIAM. Reeds Family Law Solicitors Ltd in Wakefield, West Yorkshire offers the MIAM for a cost of £50 plus VAT (£60 in total). Although you may have to pay up to £100 plus vat at other services around the country.
On the How2divorce seminar the different types of services are disucssed so that you can make the best decision about how to proceed in the most cost effective way. Mediation is just one of those.
For more information or to make a MIAM appointment at Reeds their number is 01924 201001.