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New mediation rules a flawed step in the right direction

New rules on mediation for separating couples that are now in force are broadly welcome, but contain worrying flaws because the Government has acted in indecent haste, said family law association Resolution.


Under the changes – first announced by Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly in February – before making an application to court couples must first attend a meeting with a mediator to learn about mediation.


David Allison, Chair of Resolution, said: “Mediation is a hugely valuable option for some separating couples, so increased awareness of it as a non-court option is good news. But the Government has rushed headlong into these changes in an unplanned way, which has led to some worrying flaws.


“Anyone can set themselves up as a mediator and the lack of a guarantee of the quality of mediators could leave some couples who lack a solicitor’s advice ending up in the hands of unregulated or untrained, rogue mediators. There may also be a shortage of properly trained mediators given the new demand.”


Resolution, which works for a non-adversarial approach to family disputes, says that other non-court options, including collaborative law, parenting information programmes and solicitor negotiation, should all form part of any information session on non-court options.

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