Are parents confused about the role of mediation and MIAMs?

11th October 2022

The President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane seemed to think so, when speaking to mediators at the Family Mediation Association Conference last week. We look at what was said regarding Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAMs).

He seemed to go onto say that MIAMs were not working and that there was a need to ‘consider making changes’.

However, a close look at what was said, by the President (who is a keen advocate of mediation and models that move people away from the court-based process) will see that he was actually saying that the pre-court requirement was too narrow in focus. He suggested that by highlighting mediation, parents could immediately reject the notion of a non-court-based approach. If the meeting was referred to as an Information and Assessment meeting (IAM) then it might be more successful in appealing to parents and could provide neutral information, guidance and advice which applies to both parents

Whilst many mediators are non-lawyers, it is also true to say that many combine it with a legal practice. The President’s suggestion was that a number of professionals could carry out the IAM and if mediation was to follow then it would be handled by a different mediator.

It is not known, how this plan will translate into changes to the MIAM or court process but a report on improving the MIAM process is expected in the next few weeks. This is a topic that is certainly not going to go away.

Blake Morgan offers Family mediation, including Child Inclusive Mediation and operates the MOJ Voucher scheme whereby couples who discuss the arrangements for their children in mediation can claim £500 towards the costs of paying for the sessions.

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