£500 Mediation Voucher Scheme
In addition to the good news that Spring has sprung and lockdown restrictions are starting to lift, April will also be bringing some positive developments in the world of family mediation.
On 1st April 2021 (and this is no April Fools’ Day joke), the new Mediation Voucher Scheme will come into force. This is a Government designed, time-limited scheme which is intended to support parties who may be able to resolve their family law disputes outside of Court.
Given the huge pressures on the Family Courts, that have only been exacerbated by the pandemic, this scheme is aimed at supporting the system’s recovery efforts by encouraging more people to consider mediation to resolve their disputes, where appropriate. If parties are eligible, they will receive a financial contribution of up to £500 towards the costs of mediation.
The following cases are eligible for a mediation voucher:
- A dispute/application regarding a child;
- A dispute/application regarding family financial matters where you are also involved in a dispute/application relating to a child.
The vouchers will only be accepted by mediators authorised by the Family Mediation Council and will be paid directly to the mediator once all mediation sessions are concluded. There are only a limited number of vouchers available so, once contacted, the mediator will be able to tell you whether there are vouchers available for your case.
The Ministry of Justice has committed £1 million to this scheme, which represents an opportunity for those parties who were previously excluded by the cost of mediation. Not only will these vouchers help improve accessibility to mediation but they will also work towards what should be the ultimate aim in all family disputes; to keep children out of court proceedings and litigious processes as much as possible.