Family Mediation and the Resolution Manisfesto for Family Law

By coincidence, I received notice of my own personal achievement on the same day as Resolution published its Manifesto for Family Law.

Resolution is a national body of family lawyers and mediators whose members are committed to dealing with family law in a non-confrontational manner. I trained and qualified as a family mediator with Resolution in 2011 and continue to base my practice in family law and family mediation against the code of principles laid out by Resolution.

The Manifesto's main message is that separating couples should be assisted at all stages through their case in order to minimise conflict; protect vulnerable people; help parents to understand their responsibilities to their children; allow people to divorce without blame; and help people to understand how their divorce will affect their future finances. The document can be accessed here: http://www.resolution.org.uk/site_content_files/files/resolution_manifesto_for_family_law.pdf

When cuts to Legal Aid were introduced in 2013, the intention was that more people would resolve their cases without having to go to court. Legal Aid was kept in place for Family Mediation and so it was hoped that the majority of separating couples would access mediation and be able to settle their dispute out of court.

In fact, the reverse has happened and statistics reveal that the number of people attending mediation with the assistance of Legal Aid has dropped by 45% over the two years since the cuts were announced. Resolution Manifesto makes a number of recommendations to help separating people reach agreement out of court; not least making people aware of the benefits of mediation earlier in the separation process and also extending legal aid to be available to all alternative dispute resolution options (such as arbitration and collaborative law).

The recommendations make a lot of sense in view of the increasing number of people going to court without solicitors. The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) have also stepped up their promotion of family mediation and have taken on board criticism levelled at the lack of publicity for mediation since the Legal aid cuts.

You can view the publicity material produced by the MOJ here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/family-mediation

It makes sense to try and resolve your family law disputes in an amicable fashion, not least where children are involved. I would urge anybody to visit the Resolution website at www.resolution.org.uk and take some time to read the myriad of material available for separating couples.

At Emsleys, we can provide you with legal advice on all issues of family law, and we work alongside mediators who are accredited by the Family Mediation Council. Members of our family law team are members of Resolution and accredited by the Law Society as experts in family law.

Call us today on 0113 201 4900 for more information or email family.law@emsleys.co.uk.

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