From 6th April separating couples must assess whether mediation would be a better way of resolving their disputes than battling over them in court. Anyone setting out to contest the terms of their separation in court will first be required to consider mediation, under a new protocol agreed with the Judiciary. National Audit Office information on legally-aided mediation show that the average time for a mediated case to be completed is 110 days compared with 435 days for court cases on similar issues. The average cost per client of mediation is £535 compared to £2,823 for cases going to court.
Accord Mediation News
Accord is delighted to announce the opening of their new offices in Plymouth. After several years of requests by local solicitors the decision was made to acquire centrally located offices to extend Accord’s mediation services to clients in Plymouth and surrounding areas. From September clients may now be seen at Cobourg House, Mayflower Street, Plymouth, and from 15th November clients who qualify for Legal Aid can mediate without incurring any costs repayable to the Legal Services Commission. Private clients can be seen at various venues throughout Devon and Somerset. You can make an initial enquiry by telephoning Mrs Ann Bosworth on 01752 226800 between 8.30am and 4pm Monday to Friday, or email email@example.com
Since 2002 Accord has been conducting commercial mediation throughout Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Avon and has the use of several venues throughout these counties for more information please telephone Mrs Teresa Hallett on 01872 225022 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
On Monday 24th May Accord opened the doors of its St Austell offices on Polkyth Road after the premises had undergone a total renovation taking some 12 weeks. The St Austell office offers 2 meetings room, an administration office and a reception area and cloakroom facilities. Accord had been fortunate enough to secure an alternative venue in St Austell to ensure no disruption to clients. Clients can continue being seen by appointment at Polkyth Road, from 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday. Emergency appointments are always available in Truro, St Austell, and Bodmin offices, when clients can be seen within 24 hours of making contact with us on 01872 225022.
(Article courtesy of http://www.familylaw.co.uk/Newsline.aspx)
FRI 08/01/2010 – Early results and evaluation of a pilot scheme to make in-court family mediation available to legally aided parties has proven to be effective.
The pilot scheme, developed by the Legal Services Commission (LSC), operated in Family Proceedings Courts and county courts for 6 months, up to 31 December 2009, targeting five areas: Birmingham, Sheffield, Milton Keynes, Reading and Plymouth.
The project’s aim is to encourage consideration and the use of mediation following an assessment at the court. Academic research has proven that separating couples who are willing to participate in mediation generally manage to settle disputes more cheaply, more quickly and less acrimoniously. Mediated family cases take on average 110 days compared with 435 days for non-mediated cases.
Preliminary results show that, taking into account mediations so far concluded, in 72 per cent of mediations agreement was reached or the dispute was narrowed (the outcomes of 44 cases where further mediation subsequently took place away from the court are still outstanding). Furthermore, in 44 per cent of cases, participating parties had not previously considered mediation.
Nationally in 2008/09, 13,552 mediations were commenced, up from just 400 in 1998. Currently 68 per cent of mediations funded by the LSC reach a full or partial agreement.
According to the LSC the costs of the pilot are close to the anticipated levels. In their evaluation the LSC will consider not only costs as paid for mediator time at court, but also value, which largely depends on how many clients use the service.
Evaluation is still ongoing and will involve receiving feedback from the judiciary and Cafcass officers, as well as mediators.
Sarah Kovach-Clark, Head of Family Policy at the LSC, said: “One in five legal aid clients who experience a family dispute resolve the matter through mediation. It’s clearly early days for the evaluation of the pilot but we want to continue to increase this number as we recognise the benefits for those involved, their children and families.”
From June 2009 Accord Mediation together with two further Exeter based mediation firms will have a presence in the Plymouth Court on Wednesdays Family Proceedings Day.