In March 2023 a consultation was launched, which proposed to make mediation mandatory for separating couples. The proposal sought to reduce the pressures on the family court and help individuals resolve their disputes. B P Collins’ family team explores the outcome of the consultation.

 Government statistics have shown that approximately one quarter of families who have  a child arrangements order in place returned to the family courts, often within a short timeframe, either because the previous arrangement was not working or because new arrangements needed to be put in place.

The Government noted there was consensus in the responses they received in that by providing parents/carers with support and information earlier, this could help them resolve their issues more quickly and outside of court, in cases where it is safe to do so. Recognising this, the government has set out a package of new measures to address the issues.

Foremost among these measures is the decision not to enforce mandatory mediation. While mediation remains a valuable tool for resolving disputes amicably, mandating it could inadvertently impede access to justice for those in need of court intervention. Instead, the focus is shifting towards providing enhanced access to information and support for families from the outset, guiding them towards alternative dispute resolution methods where appropriate.

Additionally, the government’s plan includes measures to increase support and guidance for individuals contemplating court proceedings, emphasising the importance of early legal advice and access to parenting programs. This proactive approach aims to empower individuals with the knowledge and resources necessary to make informed decisions about their legal options.

Furthermore, reforms to the private family law system are proposed, emphasising a shift towards a more investigative and child-centric approach. By prioritising the voice of the child and providing additional support for parents and carers, the aim is to create a more compassionate and effective system that prioritises the well-being of families.

While the notion of mandatory mediation sparked initial debate, the consultation process has highlighted the importance of a balanced and nuanced approach to family dispute resolution. By combining elements of early intervention, enhanced support services, and systemic reforms, the government’s proposed measures seek to create a more inclusive and effective framework for resolving family disputes.

If you would like to speak in confidence to the family team at B P Collins, you can email or call 01753 889995.

Related Services

Related Team Specialists

Laura Thumb
Laura Mortimer
Practice Group Leader

Speak to an expert

Or send us an email