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In 2021, the end of the pandemic was in sight but the country then had to face enormous backlogs across the public sector, including the Family Courts. In an attempt to relieve some of the pressure on an already crumbling legal system, the Ministry of Justice launched a voucher scheme under which the Government would contribute £500 to a separated couples’ fees if they chose to resolve their issues through mediation rather than the Courts.

The scheme was hugely successful having encouraged many families to engage in mediation, and it has no doubt been a success with 65% of the 8,400 cases reaching full or partial agreement outside of court, providing a far more cost-effective and swift resolution for families.

It is for these reasons that the Ministry of Justice has announced that it will further extend the family mediation voucher scheme with the hope of helping 10,200 more families in 2022-23.

Family mediation is a more cost-effective and encompassing method of resolving family issues. It is also seen as a far more amicable and supportive process in encouraging positive conversations between parents and focusing on agreement rather than the stress and high risk of the court room.

Mediation is also more flexible for the parties, again reducing levels of stress by removing aspects of the Court process including the tight and demanding deadlines. Parties are able to take greater control of the process by deciding when the sessions are to take place as opposed to adhering to the Court’s timetable. They get to choose their mediator as opposed to a Judge being appointed and, they can reach an agreement between themselves rather than having a Judge order what they should do.

Laura Clapton, Director and Mediator at Consilia Mediation said of the scheme’s extension “Just when we thought the voucher scheme might be drawing to a close, we are delighted to hear that the MOJ are extending the scheme. We have seen some real success stories for families utilising the scheme and we are thrilled that we can continue to offer the voucher to separated families wanting to resolve their issues out of court.”

The voucher scheme will only apply to those cases which include matters relating to child arrangements.
If you need assistance in resolving your family matter through mediation and feel that you could benefit from the voucher scheme, you can contact Consilia Mediation by emailing or calling 0113 322 9222.