• Changes to MIAMS from April 2024

Changes to MIAMS from April 2024

Changes to MIAMS from April 2024

Although MIAMS (Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting), will not be compulsory in April, the planned changes to the procedure rules are a nod towards this.

They also recognise the enormous pressure family courts are under. CAFCASS have reported the average length of private law proceedings was 61 weeks, which was 22 weeks longer respectively than reported for the same period in 2020. The proposed changes are an attempt to get more cases resolved out of court through NCDR (non-court Dispute Resolution) mediation in the first instance.

The changes we are expecting are for Judges to take more interest in the numerous tick boxes used for an exemption from MIAMs in the C100 form and require both parties to explain to the court, on a new form, what their position is. In other words, you will no longer be able to simply say NO to mediation. Judges will be able to adjourn hearings to obtain these forms. The court will no longer simply accept the mediator’s exemption form as proof of the inappropriateness of mediation but that both parties must explain on these forms why.

One exemption that has changed is the way that any past domestic abuse exemption remains valid for all future applications. This will no longer be the case and will assist parents making repeat applications for a change to their CMO allowing mediation first.

Exemptions based on lack of knowledge of the other parties contact details has been removed too. FNF found this is the most common excuse used to avoid mediation.

The new rules also take account of the fact that mediation can now take place online between parents some considerable distance from each other, even other countries, online, and safeguarding issues can be easily addressed by the use of different Zoom rooms for each party.

The government voucher scheme for mediation remains (£500) link. How far these rule changes will be interpreted and implemented remains to be seen. For FNF mentors, at least initially, using the right form after April 29th will be an issue. It would not the first-time forms are returned many weeks later simply for the applicant to copy the data onto the latest form!

Changes to MIAMS from April 2024

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Changes to MIAMS from April 2024

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