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Keeping matters from the courtroom!

At Davis & Co of Fairford, in partnership with By Personal Touch, we were well ahead of the curve on this one. We worked alongside mediators and the like to ensure parties did all they could to avoid the courtroom door.

Further, the much talked about and used By Personal Touch portal allows parties that have agreed by consent to their financial split to use the portal (and our By Personal Touch meeting) to conclude matters and complete paperwork ready to be sealed by the Judge.

More on the link below -

Below - The Law Society dated 29 Apr 2024

The Family Procedure Rules have today been updated and make several changes to improve the level of attendance at mediator initial assessment meetings (MIAMs) by applicants to certain family proceedings.

The changes have been introduced because the previous rules were not applied to the extent expected and did not divert cases from court proceedings to the degree that had been intended.

MIAMs are meetings where an accredited mediator provides a potential applicant to proceedings with information on settling their dispute out of court.

Under the current rules, it is a requirement for all prospective applicants to attend a MIAM, unless an exemption applies.

The rule changes arise from a push to help more parties settle their cases outside of court.

The principle changes include:

  • the independent mediator conducting the MIAM explaining and considering all forms of non-court dispute resolution (NCDR), rather than just mediation. This includes arbitration, evaluation by a third-party and collaborative law

  • the procedure relating to MIAMs starting earlier in the application process

  • the court having a duty to encourage parties to consider suitable forms of NCDR at all stages of proceedings, particularly between hearings. The courts have the discretion to adjourn hearings to allow for this

  • some of the exemptions to MIAMs being limited or removed

  • parties are now required to file a new form, called FM5, seven days before the first hearing to set out their views on NCDR*

Law Society of England and Wales president Nick Emmerson said: “We agree that supporting parties to settle their cases outside of court and informing them of their options relating to NCDR is important.

“Court should be a last resort because it is expensive, takes longer and can have a significant emotional impact on parties. However, it is vital that there are no barriers to accessing the courts when this is necessary or appropriate.

“Mediation, therefore, should not be mandatory and access to the courts should be protected. We are pleased that the changes to the rules retain access to courts, while encouraging and supporting parties to consider their options beyond the court process.

“The updated rules provides an opportunity for parties to explore all the options, including NCDR, in resolving their dispute out of court when attending a MIAM.

“We are also pleased that the changes to the rules will retain the protections afforded to victims of domestic abuse and vulnerable parties, ensuring they do not need to engage in any form of NCDR.”

On legal aid, Nick Emmerson concluded: “The Law Society continues to lobby the UK government to provide legal aid for private family law cases, including early legal advice.

“This would have a positive impact on diverting cases from court and be able to provide information to parties before an application is even made.

“We are encouraged by the Ministry of Justice’s proposals to pilot an early advice scheme and will continue to work with them on it.”

The Law Society dated 29 Apr 2024

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