Law advice from Kent experts: the benefits of mediation

PUBLISHED: 20:57 20 March 2011 | UPDATED: 19:01 20 February 2013

Law advice from Kent experts: the benefits of mediation

Law advice from Kent experts: the benefits of mediation

Our coalition government has a plan for all sectors of our 'Big Society.' Families are no exception and are going to be encouraged to try and resolve disputes without using the court.


Law advice from Kent experts: the benefits of mediation


Our coalition government has a plan for all sectors of our Big Society. Families are no exception and are going to be encouraged to try and resolve disputes without using the court.


Q: So what is going to happen?



On 6 April, new court rules will come into effect requiring anyone applying to the court for a financial order following divorce, or an order about children, to have firstly considered mediation. They can be asked to attend a meeting about mediation and the benefits of using it instead of court.


If mediation is not taken up, the court will want to know why before the case can advance. Some exemptions will apply, for example if there are concerns such as domestic violence or if the situation is urgent.



Q: What are the benefits of mediation?



● Saving public money.


(The Government plans to limit Legal Aid for family disputes, but mediation will continue to be funded).



● Saving time and avoiding court delays.



● Allowing people to make their own decisions.



● Receiving impartial assistance from a Mediator to solve problems.



Q: Mediation has been available for many years, so what is going to change?



Many family lawyers have encouraged the use of mediation as an alternative to court for a long time. Due to mediation being a voluntary process, the use of it has not been as widespread as the court system for dispute resolution. The Government wishes to increase the use of mediation. Whilst there are no plans to make mediation compulsory, the new rules are a first step in encouraging people to consider more carefully whether mediation could assist them.



Q: What reasons are given for not using mediation?



● The other person will not go.



● The other person cannot be trusted.



● Lack the confidence to fight their own corner



● It is easier to get someone else to make the decision.



● I do not want to work face to face with my former partner.



Q: Will there be more mediation?



There is clearly a desire to encourage more mediation and get more people using that method than the court. People in mediation still need to look to lawyers for guidance and to draw up a legally binding document at the conclusion of a successful mediation.



Family lawyers at Whitehead Monckton encourage our clients to use the best method of dispute resolution available to them. We offer all forms of dispute resolution to our clients including mediation and the alternative, collaborative process.


Collaborative resolution combines the benefit of receiving legal advice within in a mediation style setting where each clients lawyer helps a resolution of difference. Court is normally an option of last resort when negotiations are not possible or have proved unsuccessful.


PROFILE


Jonathan Miller is a Resolution accredited specialist family lawyer in all areas of family law, with particular specialism in the areas of financial provision and cohabitation. He is also a trained collaborative lawyer.


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