It is high time for a big promotional push from central government to improve the take-up of family mediation, says England and Wales’ leading provider.
In a new article for Family Law, Jane Robey (CEO of National Family Mediation) explains how a major obstacle to increasing numbers of people benefiting from mediation is a lack of widespread awareness of the many advantages of the process.
Whilst the Ministry of Justice spent money on 2015’s targeted ‘Family Mediation First’ campaign, she says one big push every five to ten years will not be effective, and explains exactly why.
She wants to see a number of things driven from the centre, including:
- Active promotion of the availability of legal aid for family mediation, which would also assist the advice sector
- A focus in the family courts on promoting and supporting mediation
- Measures to make it easier for people to find accredited mediators in their area.
Acknowledging money would need to be spent, she concludes: “If Ministers still need convincing, they only need to look again at figures showing the £48 billion annual cost to the UK economy of badly managed family breakdown. That’s £1,820 each per year for every taxpayer.
“I believe that a little investment in informing people about how they can save stress, time and money by undertaking a non-confrontational settlement process would truly pay dividends. It would be well worth the relatively modest investment required.”