The FMC submitted a series of proposals to the MoJ in order to encourage more families to use mediation to settle disputes. The proposals included MoJfunded MIAMs for all, better gatekeeping by the courts, and an online scheme whereby judges could refer parties to mediation if they had reached court. The MOJ confirmed they had lots of letters from MPs writing in support of or enquiring about the work the MoJ is doing in relation to these proposals, which definitely helped raise the profile of the issue and has seen the government restate its commitment to mediation.
The Secretary of State, the Rt Honourable Robert Buckland QC MP, has said in response: 'We agree that now is a difficult time for families, as relationships are placed under intense pressures, and we are committed to championing mediation as a better option than court for many suitable families, in turn reducing pressures on the court system.' The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, the Honourable Alex Chalk MP, has also said: 'It can be a difficult time for families and parents, with Covid-19 placing relationships under additional pressures. Mediation can play an important role in helping families resolve conflict in the best interests of their children without the need to come to court. We are committed to championing mediation as an alternative to court for suitable families and are grateful for the FMC for their proposals. We welcome the chance to work closely with the sector, to improve outcomes for families, and manage demand in court through the promotion of alternative dispute resolution.'