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All of those family law professionals who have put their efforts and training budgets into the collaborative law movement for the past 6 years may have been dismayed to listen to the "Today" programme last week. Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly suggested on Radio 4 that more people, when dealing with family disputes, should consider mediation rather than resorting to Court proceedings.
Will it become compulsory for anyone wanting to issue Court proceedings in relation to either children or financial disputes to attend mediation first? It is already compulsory for clients who are eligible for public funding.
The statistics suggest that, more often than not, mediation works. Figures published by the Legal Services Commission state that, in 2008/2009, 68% of publically funded mediations resulted in agreement, an 8% rise on the same figures in 2005/2006.
Amongst family lawyers, it is hoped this announcement will mean that focus shifts back to the benefits of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods, be it mediation or collaborative law. Mediation can be the cheapest, least contentious and most effective way to reach an agreement which can be moulded to suit the challenges faced by a family. Collaborative law allows the clients to retain control of the decisions which will impact on them and their children.
We have four trained mediators in the Family department at Kingsley Napley, allowing our clients to chose the right mediator to suit their personal circumstances. Click here to learn more about how mediation works.
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