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Mediation Task Force wants MoJ to pay for MIAMS

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Task Force set up to examine drop in MIAMS referrals publishes its report.

  • The Mediation Task Force, chaired by Sir David Norgrove, has recommended that the MoJ funds all MIAMS for the next 12 months. 

    The Task Force was set up to examine the unexpected drop in MIAMS following implementation of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 which in their words resulted in "loss of a major referral mechanism from legal aid lawyers to mediators". 

    That change has already seen several mediators go out of business and the Task Force notes that 

    "there may be a lack of capacity if and when the number of mediations begins to increase, which may result from the requirement introduced in April 2014 that most applicants to court should first have attended a MIAM to consider mediation"

    They believe that getting the MoJ to pay for MIAMS for 12 months would

    "make a real impact on the take-up of mediation and would increase understanding and awareness of the process at a time when this is a major barrier. It would show attentive response to feedback from the mediation sector while having a contained cost."

    The report also sets out several other policy recommendations to try and breathe life into the provision of MIAMS:

    • the MoJ should undertake a sustained low level campaign to increase awareness
    • consulting with the Family Procedure Rule Committee to revise the unhelpful and archaic use of language in court forms and guidance (with particular reference to the divorce petition)
    • abolishing fault based divorce
    • increasing the fee paid to mediators for MIAMs for a fixed period of three years
    • the LAA should fund the non-legally aided person for the first single session mediation for a period of three years and consider waiving the second eligibility test so that the initial eligibility test would continue to be valid for six weeks following initial checks by the mediator
    • that mediation should be an exempt service for the purposes of the newly introduced Residence Test
    • consideration should be given to a capital disregard for mediation cases
    • that the Law Society and the SRA should be allowed to consider whether regulations could enable solicitors to see both parties together where they want that, for example when they have mediated

    The full report can be found here (pdf)

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Published: 04/07/2014

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