I have received the following press release from the Ministry of Justice:
Ministry of Justice, 1st April 2011: The Government has decided to cancel its plans to make mediation compulsory for all family law disputes.
Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly said: "Having listened to those who know a lot more about these things than we do, we have realised that making mediation compulsory would be a big mistake. Mediation by definition requires the free cooperation of both parties, so making it compulsory was always a silly idea. In any event, mediation isn't really that great after all - few if any additional cases would be settled compared to the present system. In fact, you could say that mediation is not a panacea."
In the light of this decision, the Government is now considering dropping its plans to abolish legal aid for private law family matters. The necessary cost saving would instead be achieved by the compulsory redundancy of a certain Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice.