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Mediation changes are afoot

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3 November 2014

Mediation changes are afoot

More changes are afoot in mediation.  As you will be aware, in April 2013 the Government removed legal aid funding for family law court proceedings, however continued to provide legal aid for mediation.  This was as a result of the governments thinking that resolving family disputes by way of mediation is the preferred method to acrimonious court proceedings.

The governments thinking has been emphasised again more recently by the introduction of a new government scheme (effective from midnight on the 3rd November 2014).  The new scheme will provide legal aid funding for a single family mediation session for both parties even where one of them would be paying privately, as long as the other person qualifies for legal aid.

Historically only the legally aided person was entitled to have the mediation sessions for free and the other person would have to pay - this often led to the paying person unwilling to attend mediation.

The government hopes that this new scheme will encourage paying parties to attend at least one mediation session to see the benefits of resolving matters without going to court.  The person not entitled to legal aid would have to pay the cost of any further mediation sessions beyond that first meeting.

Mediation does remain a quicker and cheaper way to resolve family disputes and is also less stressful.  If you would like to discuss this or have any other related mediation questions please contact Wendy Campbell who will be happy to assist.

Read next article: Resolve your Family Disputes the Collaborative Law Way