Separating couples still bypassing mediation

The number of publicly-funded mediations getting underway since the removal of legal aid from divorce lawyers in April has dropped by a third (32%) compared to the same period last year.

Data for the past five months obtained from the Legal Aid Agency shows an even steeper downturn for July and August (most recent data available) during which the number of mediations commencing fell by 43% year-on year.

This is in line with the collapse in the number of separating couples meeting a mediator to find about more about the process. The number of couples attending a MIAM fell more than half (51%) between April and August, compared to the same period last year.

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Over the same five-month period, data from Cafcass shows the number of new private law cases it is handling rose by almost a fifth (18%) year-on-year. This equates to an additional 3382 private law cases being dealt with the over the period.

While the number of self-litigants is undetermined, the Cafcass data tells us the number of people seeking court action to resolve child arrangements has risen markedly since the removal of legal aid from family lawyers in April.

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