Introduction to non-court dispute resolution
Introduction to non-court dispute resolution

The following Family guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Introduction to non-court dispute resolution
  • Pre-application protocol
  • Law Society protocol
  • Types of non-court dispute resolution
  • Mediation skills
  • Referral to mediation

Pre-application protocol

Section 10 of the Children and Families Act 2014 (CFA 2014) provides that:

  1. before making a relevant family application (see: Non-court dispute resolution—mediation information and assessment meetings (MIAMs) — Relevant family proceedings), a person must attend a family mediation information and assessment meeting (MIAM)

  2. the court may not issue, or otherwise deal with, an application if, in contravention, the applicant has not attended a MIAM

The changes introduced by CFA 2014 came into force on 22 April 2014. It remains that while attendance at a MIAM has been, since 22 April 2014, compulsory for most applicants, there are circumstances in which attendance will not be required, see: Non-court dispute resolution—mediation information and assessment meetings (MIAMs) — Exemptions. The requirement to confirm attendance at a MIAM (or an exemption), previously set out only in Form FM1, is now also included in various court forms for completion prior to the issue of the application, see: Changes to forms.

The pre-application requirements are set out in the Family Procedure Rules 2010 (FPR 2010), SI 2010/2955, Pt 3, supplemented by FPR 2010, PD 3A.

With effect from 6 April 2015, FPR 2010, SI 2010/2955, 3.4(1)(a) was amended to provide that:

‘If the court considers that non-court dispute resolution is appropriate, it may direct that the proceedings, or a hearing in the proceedings, be adjourned