Posts tagged ‘mediation’
Figures released by the Ministry of Justice have shown a marked increase in the numbers of unrepresented parties ending up in the Family Court since 2012.
Unrepresented parties brought around 25,000 cases in 2012 whereas this figure increased to nearly 35,000 in 2013. Legal Aid cuts implemented in 2013 are thought to be a significant factor in this phenomenon.
As well as the year-on-year figures for child-related cases displaying a marked increase in the numbers of unrepresented parties overall; in relative terms, they made up more than 50 per cent of the child-related cases appearing in the Family Court in the latter part of 2013.
Legal Aid Cuts and Divorce
Since 2013, cuts to legal aid have removed financial assistance for a host of civil claims including many areas of private family law.This means that divorcing couples often feel that they cannot seek professional specialist legal advice due to a lack of personal financial means.
Despite this, the number of divorcing couples heading to court to resolve their differences has not fallen but has increased by around 5 per cent, resulting in significant delays. It has been suggested that the absence of solicitors in the divorce process may have made couples less likely to be informed about the alternatives, leaving them to opt for unnecessarily costly and stressful court proceedings.
Family lawyers are not just experts in family law but they usually have significant experience in alternative dispute resolution techniques such as mediation.
Will the Recent Changes Made by the Children and Families Act 2014 Help?
The Children and Families Act 2014 implemented in April 2014, specifically encourages divorcing couples to focus on the welfare of children by placing time limits on care proceedings and making the use of mediation information meetings compulsory.
Mediation itself is still supported by Legal Aid but the Ministry of Justice figures suggest that mediation’s fell dramatically year on year between 2012 and 2013.
Any experienced family lawyer will confirm that mediation is far less stressful than a full blown court case as well as being quicker and cheaper. However, there are some cases where it may not be suitable such as high value divorce cases or where there is a significant imbalance of means between the parties.
Divorce is often an incredibly stressful experience for all concerned, not least for any children that are involved. Even parties that feel they cannot afford legal advice should at least attempt to speak to family solicitor to see what help is available before heading to court unrepresented. This often turns out to be far more cost effective in the long run. For specialist advice please contact us on 01737 229 610 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember divorce is a life changing event. Make sure the change you make gives you the best opportunity possible to move on with your life and doesn’t cause you difficulties for years to come.
On April 22nd 2014 the Family Justice underwent major reforms. Such reforms include the need for anyone wishing to issue proceedings involving children and or finances usually to meet with a Mediator before being permitted to do so. There is also the expectation that the “other party” will also meet with the same Mediator. Once proceedings are issued, Judges now have the authority to require both parties to meet with a Mediator.
Venters Solicitors and Family Mediation are experienced Mediators as well as Solicitors. We are committed to helping you achieve the best possible outcome for you and your children and where this is possible, by agreement.
We are here to help you either as Mediators or as Solicitors. For more details please refer to www.venters.co.uk or telephone to make an appointment on 01737 229 610.
The government’s extensive changes to the legal costs regime are designed to make litigation less profitable for the claimant and even more risky for those seeking to defend.
“We see these reforms as the government trying to drive litigants away from lengthy and costly litigation – whilst pushing them into the arms of mediators”, says June Venters QC, Managing Partner of Venters Solicitors.
If that is the aim, then Venters Solicitors are ready. In June 2013 this niche firm of dedicated legal specialists launched Venters Civil Mediation (“VCM”), a select group of highly experienced barrister and solicitor mediators, who will provide a comprehensive mediation service both locally and further afield. VCM will build upon the well-established reputation of Venters Family Mediation which has successfully assisted many clients effectively to resolve their family disputes without the need to go to court.
VCM mediators have considerable experience as dispute resolution practitioners in a wide range of civil and commercial dispute areas. Most of them have also been trained in the psychological approach to conflict, and so are skilled at handling highly emotional issues.
Mediation has now become a vital and central part of the civil justice system, and many people with stressful and time-consuming disputes are increasingly turning to mediators to help them resolve their conflicts in an inexpensive, swift and effective way.
June Venters was invited to speak to BBC London, Vanessa Feltz about the role of step parents and their families today. She highlighted the importance of families communicating and agreeing about important issues that will affect them both now and in the future such as, parental responsibility how this will be exercised by the step parent; inheritance – the importance of making a will because step children do not have the same “rights” of inheritance as birth children. She recommended how mediation could assist families to communicate about these and many other relevant areas and drew an analogy with pre nuptial agreements and how it is important for step families to agree how issues should be resolved in a controlled environment and before they occur to avoid disagreement and ill feeling and scope for confusion later.