IQ Legal TrainingBerkeley Lifford Hall Accountancy Services

Updated family mediation guidance available from LAA

Draft amendments to guidance to prepare for changes to family mediation funding

Changes are being made to family mediation funding which the Legal Aid Agency expects to come into effect on 3 November 2014 and will affect financially ineligible parties.

Why is this happening?
The changes are because of planned amendments to the Civil Legal Aid (Financial Resources and Payment for Services) Regulations 2013.

When do these changes apply?
They are expected to apply to all cases where the first mediation session after the Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) takes place on or after 3 November 2014.

What do the changes mean?
Financially ineligible parties will be exempt from the financial means test in respect of the first mediation session where the other party is financially eligible for legal aid.

The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) will pay half a single session mediation fee for the first session only in relation to the ineligible party. This will be in addition to the relevant fee payable in respect of the financially eligible party.

What will happen in future sessions?
For all subsequent mediation sessions following the first session legal aid will only be available for parties eligible for legal aid.

What does this mean for the reporting of mediation cases?
There are no changes to the way mediation cases are reported, and providers should continue to report the mediation as a single matter regardless of the fee payable in respect of each party.

What is the status of the draft amendments?
The LAA has published draft versions of amended guidance now for illustrative purposes only. This guidance should not be used prior to the amended regulations taking effect.

The guidance will only be effective from the date of implementation of the amended Civil Legal Aid (Financial Resources and Payment for Services) Regulations 2013.

Further information
Legal aid: family mediation
– to download 'Family mediation guidance manual - November 2014 draft'.

Family mediation claim form – to download 'Guidance for reporting work under the family mediation contract - November 2014 draft'.