Money for Mediation – but not in Scotland

On 16 January 2022 the Ministry of Justice announced a boost to the landmark family mediation scheme in England and Wales with an additional £1.3 million.

The purpose of the scheme is to reduce the number of family disputes ending up in the family courts. Since the start of the scheme, 4400 vouchers worth £500 have been provided to families to help pay for mediation services.

Initial research from the Family Mediation Council, who run the scheme, shows that of the first 2,000 cases using the vouchers, more than three-quarters (77%) reached either a whole or partial agreement outside of court. Nearly half (49%) say they would not have considered mediation if the voucher had not been on offer.

This funding is not available for mediation in Scotland, although some mediation costs here can be supported by legal aid.  The Scottish Government is currently working on a pilot scheme for mandatory alternative dispute resolution meetings and associated funding.