Thursday, January 03, 2013

Extra £10 million for mediation?

The Ministry of Justice has announced today that the Government 'expects' to spend an additional £10 million this year on legal aid for mediation. Note that this is not quite the same as the headline: "Extra £10 million for mediation".

The announcement has been timed to coincide with the post-Christmas period, "when the most enquiries about separation and divorce are made", although the real purpose of any extra money is to be used as a sticking-plaster for the gaping wound that will be caused by the abolition of legal aid for private law matters, in April.

The announcement is accompanied by a quote from Family Justice Minister Lord McNally, who repeats the mantra that mediation is "a quicker and simpler approach which brings better outcomes" than "expensive and traumatic court hearings". However, as Marilyn Stowe said on Twitter this morning: "The Function of the courts is to resolve disputes between its citizens. Courts work. Mediation has no such guarantees."

The announcement can be found on the Ministry of Justice website, here.

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