Partner Deborah Jeff comments on the Government dropping its plans to introduce mandatory mediation for separating couples and why mediation is not appropriate for all couples, in The Times, Today's Family Lawyer, Solicitors Journal and New Law Journal.
“It is eminently sensible that the government has listened to the feedback of solicitors and mediators and will scrap its plans to force couples to mediate.
“Whilst it’s sensible to look at ways of resolving financial disputes and arrangements for children in shorter time frames, enforced mediation is not one of them. The current system of investigating whether mediation is appropriate in any given case works. There is a host of reasons why a case may not be appropriate, not least when there has been domestic abuse. That abuse can take various forms, including physical, emotional, psychological and financial.
“Parties must come to mediation feeling safe and with parity of power. Often, the imbalance of power isn’t immediately obvious and clients of both sexes can feel uncomfortable sharing what has happened in their relationship, which would change advice regarding the form of dispute resolution that is appropriate.
“The solution is to have a family justice system that works rather than seek to divert inappropriate cases to mediation."