Recently released nationwide statistics have shown a doubling of enquiries into family mediation since last year, and in the same period a reduction in the amount of new cases issued about children of about a third. There may be many other factors affecting these statistics, such as the reduction of legal aid, but it may be that the increased use of mediation has resulted in less cases needing to be issued.
Mediation is something that the court is increasingly encouraging in family cases where it is appropriate, both at the start of a case and at every stage in it. There is also an expectation (with exceptions) from the court that an applicant will consider mediation as an option before applying to court, and have at least an individual confidential meeting (mediation information and assessment meeting or MIAM) with a mediator before issuing proceedings, and the mediator has to provide proof of the meeting so the application can be made.
If this raises any issues for you or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Zen Thompson, one of the solicitors and mediators in our family team, who has experience of dealing with these issues.