Family mediation vouchers a step in the right direction
News the government is investing £1 million in a voucher scheme to help families resolve legal issues outside of court, was welcomed by the Law Society of England and Wales.
Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce said:
“We welcome the government’s new family mediation voucher scheme and the continued commitment to helping minimise conflict between separating couples.
“Steps to address the backlog in the family court system are helpful. However, data shows a clear and significant correlation between the removal of private family proceedings from the scope of legal aid funding and a reduction in mediations.
“We continue to recommend the government address this by bringing at least early advice in private family proceedings back in scope.
“Solicitors are best placed to assess all alternative dispute resolution (ADR) options with their clients – such as arbitration, early neutral evaluation, negotiation and conciliation. We encourage a review of these other forms of ADR to ensure parties are able to access the best solution for them.”
The voucher scheme will be administered by the Family Mediation Council (FMC) on behalf of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), and will provide a £500 voucher to put towards the cost of mediation for around 2,000 families.
“We look forward to working with the FMC and MoJ to evaluate the scheme,” added I. Stephanie Boyce.
Notes to editors
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