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£1 million voucher scheme to help families resolve disputes outside of court

Separating parents will be helped to resolve disputes through a new million-pound mediation scheme launched by the government.

Under the scheme, around 2,000 families will be able to apply for a £500 voucher towards the cost of mediation which is usually charged for unless one of the parties has access to legal aid.

The Ministry of Justice says that research suggests that more than 70 per cent of those using mediation services will resolve their issues outside of courtroom.

The initiative will also help to alleviate pressures on the family courts system resulting from the pandemic by diverting cases better suited for mediation away from the courts.

John Taylor, Chair of the Family Mediation Council said:

"This government investment in mediation is much welcomed by the Family Mediation Council. It will help separated families agree solutions that are best for their children, taking into account what is going to be important for them as they grow up.

"Family mediation is a proven cost-effective way to resolve differences following separation. This voucher scheme will make it even more accessible, and will help families resolve issues for themselves, without having to go to court."

The scheme is eligible for families seeking to resolve private law or financial matters relating to children.

If a case is eligible for vouchers, the mediator will automatically claim back the contributions from the government.

For the Ministry of Justice press release, click here.

26/3/21