Is mediation helping in shadow of Legal Aid reform?

The likelihood of Legal Aid reform continues to be a big issue. Cuts of up to £350 million in the system would see the option of Legal Aid removed for many people in divorce proceedings, with victims in domestic abuse cases, for instance, among a very small group of people who will still be able to seek help with funding. The profession has voiced fears that the measure is being railroaded through despite strong opposition in a public consultation. The aim is to cut costs, as is the recent change which insists couples consider mediation before seeking court settlements at the end of a marriage. From a personal viewpoint, Woolley & Co does not accept Legal Aid cases so you would expect me to not be too concerned. However, I am, largely out of a desire to see our sector helping people in real need rather than out of any commercial consideration. We have seen a rise in people wanting help but who cannot afford it. This is starting to lead to more people trying to reach agreements through mediators – but mediators can charge as much as lawyers, so who is really better off? "Legal Aid mediators" – ie those who offer the basic service and to whom parties are pointed if they were seeking Legal Aid – tend to cost about £40 per hour. However, I believe they are unable to handle anything more than the most basic settlements. Throw in a pension or a business for consideration, and they may well not be best placed to serve the client. As Legal Aid support is withdrawn, there will be more people who perceive they cannot afford legal representation in divorce, which is wrong. If you ask the average person how much the average divorce costs, they might say £20,000. It is actually about £4,000. The misconception is fuelled by celebrity divorce. In my career I have only ever seen one bill anything like £20,000. It is not necessarily an expensive process unless you have a big court case. Most cases do not go to court. Mediation certainly isn't a panacea. Real understanding of what mediation is all about is still limited. Anybody can be a mediator and as yet no concrete guidance on "approved mediators" has been introduced. Put simply, mediation is sorting out a divorce without having a big row in court about it. The fact that seems to be ignored when mediation is suggested as a novel solution is that the vast majority of divorce and family law cases don't go to court. They are resolved between the parties, often with the help of their solicitors. Good solicitors don't look to create a battle, instead they look to achieve a fair settlement in the case of financial cases or a the right solution for the children of a marriage. Public perception might be that mediation is cheaper than a traditional route but our average bill for a divorce, including the legal ending of the marriage, financial settlement, arrangements for children and court fees is probably not far over £4,000. It is nothing like what people perceive. Even where mediation is used there's still the need to ratify any agreement and pay the relevant court fees. So whilst mediation may be a useful method of helping the parties to come to an agreement, it's not the only way that agreements can be reached and caution should be used by those who think mediation is the cheaper option. Do make sure your mediator is suitably qualified and experienced and be clear that the settlement you agree is 'fair', otherwise the lower cost may be quickly off-set by the financial loss you could experience by not having your financial interests adequately represented. Andrew Woolley Family solicitor

Read more detail on Recent Family Law Posts –

Legal notice about the Is mediation helping in shadow of Legal Aid reform? rubric : Hukuki Net Legal News is not responsible for the privacy statements or other content from Web sites outside of the Hukuki.net site. Please refer the progenitor link to check the legal entity of this resource hereinabove.

Do you need High Quality Legal documents or forms related to Is mediation helping in shadow of Legal Aid reform??

This entry was posted in Divorce Law and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Is mediation helping in shadow of Legal Aid reform?

  1. Jefrina says:

    For every individual, the main iorprity in life is to fulfill their various dreams and wishes. However, it is not at all possible for all the individuals to execute their needs. The prime reason being that these borrowers financial condition does not support them in their endeavor. For these borrowers the financial market is offering them a chance by providing finances in the form of online personal loans. These loans take care of all the borrowers needs without any delay. These loans are processed online after providing the necessary details by the borrower.A considerable amount of time and energy is saved as the borrower can access the loan amount by sitting in his office or home. Moreover the borrower can access the free quotes by comparing the quotes borrower can easily select the best available deal. These loans basically take care of all the personal needs of the borrower. In fact borrower can use the amount for paying college education fees, holiday package, meeting wedding expenses and even consolidating debts.

Leave a Reply