The Children and Families Act will be implemented on 22nd April 2014; part of its intention is to promote a wider use of mediation. Anyone wanting to make an application to the court to sort out arrangements for their children or a financial settlement will first of all have to attend a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM) where they can find out more about mediation and whether it might be a way for them to sort out their dispute.
This morning I and some other Bristol mediators met with Simon Hughes, Minister for Justice and Civil Liberties at the Bristol Court – not a place where we mediators often like to be! Simon was full of enthusiasm for mediation as a way for couples to resolve disputes quickly, without acrimony and at minimum cost.
He suggests people should first go and see a mediator rather than a solicitor when they separate. The government, which has been criticised for failing to promote mediation over the last year, will now be focusing on improving awareness of mediation.
If you would like to speak to me about mediation please call 0117 924 3880