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Family Justice Minister signs the Resolution mediation pledge

Signing marks the beginning of Family Dispute Resolution Week

Family Justice Minister Lord McNally marked the beginning of Family Dispute Resolution Week by signing a new pledge created by Resolution.

The Resolution pledge states:

“I pledge to help people going through separation by:

– Letting them know there are alternatives to court
– Encouraging them to talk to a professional about all their options to find the right solution for them and their families
– Making sure they know that legal aid is still available for mediation.”

Family Dispute Resolution Week (25-29 November), organised by Resolution, is raising awareness of non-confrontational methods of resolving family breakdown.

Liz Edwards, Chair of Resolution, said:

“We’re delighted the Minister has signed our pledge. Everyone – Government, the legal profession and individuals – needs to do their bit to ensure the right information is out there and people going through a break-up are aware of their options.

“For some couples, court is the only option; but for the vast majority, family lawyers can help them find other, more suitable solutions, which make the difficult process of break-up that much less stressful. This year’s Family Dispute Resolution Week is designed to help raise awareness of these solutions and show people that divorce doesn’t have to be devastating.”

Lord McNally said:

“Mediation works and is the best option for children. We are committed to ensuring more people resolve disputes themselves, rather than go through the confrontational and stressful experience of going to court.

“When people separate we want them to do it in the least damaging way for everyone involved, especially children. That is why we want them to use the excellent services available to agree a way forward, rather than have one forced upon them by the Courts.”

This week also sees the launch of a new public information poster and leaflet which highlight the benefits of family mediation. The materials, produced by the Government and Family Mediation Council, will be available for family mediation organisations, legal practitioners, courts and advice services to use at public information points.

The Ministry of Justice says that last year more than 17,000 people successfully used publicly funded family mediation to come to an agreement with only six per cent needing further legal services, compared to 21 per cent of those who didn’t use mediation.