On March 26, 2021, the UK Government launched a new million-pound mediation scheme to help families resolve disputes outside of court. The salient features of the scheme are:
- The scheme will be administered by the Family Mediation Council (FMC), on behalf of the Ministry of Justice.
- Under the scheme, around 2,000 families will be able to apply for a £500 voucher towards the cost of mediation. The government has set aside £1 million pound to pay for mediation.
- The scheme would include couples working through their differences, led by a trained and accredited mediator. The mediator would help them to reach agreements that they are both prepared to accept, such as how to split assets or arranging child contact times, rather than have a judge decide for them. They can then ask a court to consider their agreement and make it into a legally binding and enforceable court order.
- The scheme would help more than 70% of couples using mediation services to resolve their issues outside of the courtroom.
- The mediation scheme is quicker, cheaper and less stressful as compared to prolonged court cases. The scheme will also help in easing the pressure on family courts.