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Mediation Voucher Scheme – Government extend until March 2022

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James Harbottle
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Mediation Voucher Scheme – Government extend until March 2022

Using similar fact evidence to support your case

The great success of the Government Mediation Voucher Scheme which provides £500 towards the costs of mediation meetings has led to a further extension of the scheme until March 2022.

The Government has pledged £3,000,000 so far and has invested more since the launch in March 2021 because of the positive feedback from mediators and participants. Supporting the scheme, Courts minister Lord Wolfston said his overall message was one of ‘full throated support’ to the family mediation sector with no ifs or buts. He acknowledged the significant benefits of the mediation process for children and families and said he hoped 2022 would see a real uptake in family mediation.

The President of the Family Division supported this view and said mediation should be at the forefront of a joined-up approach which enables parents to settle their disputes outside court. To date, feedback from the Mediation Voucher Scheme shows that three quarters of those who take part either partially or completely reach agreement on their dispute.

Government pledge

The additional pledge by the Government will mean that around a further 2000 families will be able to access financial support for their mediation. Making families aware of mediation and how it may benefit them has long been a source of difficulty for practitioners.

Now thanks to the scheme, the profile of mediation has been raised and as more and more people take part in mediation, it is hoped that going to court will very much be a last resort rather than first option. At present, mediation is mainly taking place online which offers participants the more relaxed setting of their homes without the stress of travel and parking. They will take part in a series of meetings with the mediator and their ex-partner to set an agenda and talk through their options and eventually come to a solution which works best for the family.

Mediation offers a safe place for participants to be heard and to hear the point of view of their ex-partner without issues deteriorating into an argument. Often, just hearing the point of view of the other person, can provide greater insight as to what has been going wrong in communications. Sometimes participants realise how much hurt has been caused and are able to say sorry.

Mediation Voucher Scheme

Mediation and mediators

Mediation and mediators continue to develop and find ways in which the service can be used to support families. Child inclusive mediation allows children to express their views to a mediator who is trained as a child consultant and for those views to be fed back to their parents, often with powerful effect.

Mediation can also take place with the participant’s lawyers present. This is known as Hybrid mediation. The participants mediate with the lawyers listening in the background. After hearing each other’s views and reasons, legal advice is on hand to support and inform the participants who can then return to mediation.

Hybrid mediations tend to take place in one day as opposed to family mediation which takes place over a series of meetings, each lasting an hour to two hours each time.

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