According to data on private law demand recently released by Cafcass (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service), the impact of several years of changes to the family just system can be revealed.
Resolution, the organisation which represents family lawyers and other divorce professionals in England and Wales, has issued a statement on the figures released by Cafcass:
The Cafcass figures from April 2014 onwards show a month-on-month reduction in applications issued. This coincides with the introduction of compulsory Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAMs) on 22 April 2014. This could mean one of two things. First, either the cost or inconvenience associated with this extra hurdle is putting people off the application process altogether, leading to potentially loss of contact between children and non-resident parents. Or, on a more positive note, it could mean that more cases are being kept out of court as they have been successfully resolved through mediation. With the latest MoJ statistics showing that mediation is on the increase one must hope this is a positive development. We’re working with Resolution’s family lawyers and mediators to gather data on mediation numbers and the impact of MIAMs to determine whether the Government’s push to promote out of court dispute resolution for family matters is beginning to have an impact.
Resolution’s statement has been made by Simon Bethel who leads Resolution’s work on child law policy. Here at Dovetail we are members of Resolution and we’ve noted with interest that the organisation is currently carrying out research within its members in an effort to determine the impact of the sweeping reforms to the family justice system which came into effect in April last year.