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Existing court powers must be used to boost mediation numbers: NFM

NFM publish submission to LASPO post-implementation review

Ministers must take hands-on action to get family courts to more effectively use the powers they already hold. That is the main thrust of National Family Mediation's submission to the government's Post-Implementation Review of the 2014 Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO). NFM says:

"We believe that boosting mediation numbers would not be difficult since court powers already exist which would help meet this aim." 

The charity's CEO, Jane Robey, says:

"We know government thinking is completely dominated by Brexit. But no new legislation is needed: just the proper enforcement of existing court powers. And we know the purse-strings are tight, but this type of action would cost nothing.

"Stronger monitoring and a more proactive government approach to enforcement would, we believe, transform the situation and avoid the embarrassment for Ministers of their current policy dying on its feet."

The submission outlines a range of negative impacts that have been felt by family mediation providers as a result of the LASPO Act, and proposes a number of remedial actions that could help the government improve the take-up of family mediation. Central to these are a series of measures to strengthen the proactive involvement of courts in encouraging separating families to use mediation, including:

The charity believes that an increase in the take-up of family mediation can help achieve three of the four objectives the then-coalition government had when establishing LASPO:

NFM's submission also includes a number of suggestions for government action which would require legislative or funded measures, including: 

For more details of NFM's submission, click here. For the submission itself, click here.