England and Wales: divorcing couples will go to mediation before court

February 23, 2011 at 8:17 pm Leave a comment

In attempt to relief the overburdened family courts divorcing couples in England & Wales will be directed first to mediation. According to Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly mediation is cheaper and faster. BBC cites data from the National Audit Office according to which a mediation costs on average £535 per client. The costs of the comparable court procedure are £2,823 per client. According to the same source mediation is faster – 110 days on average versus 435 days for court cases.

Some lawyers as well as the Law Society disagree arguing that mediation is not always appropriate solution. Another accusation is that mediation is used to conceal the government’s plans to cut legal aid. Linda Lee, Law Society president says:

“As a matter of course any lawyer aims for an agreed solution through negotiation because going to court is stressful and expensive. This is not always possible and, in some cases, the court is the only appropriate way of resolving the problems. The government is creating a myth that mediation is a panacea in order to justify cuts to legal aid which will take areas such as this, where people desperately need advice out of scope.”

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Entry filed under: Access to Justice, Family Law, Funding, Mediation, UK.

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