Newcastle and Northumberland’s Divorce and Family Law Specialist, Joanne Major, states in the North East Times that Family Lawyers are bracing themselves for a sea change in the way the family court system works.

Gavel in front of Family Court nameplate

Amendments came into force last month. However, many of these changes won’t be noticed by the public who rarely use the Newcastle family court system. At Major Family Law, we’re prepared for these developments – but we want to ensure you are too. We want you to be aware of one essential change that may affect you.

Mediation Changes for the Newcastle Family Court

Mediation helps people to split up with less stress and less cost than using the court process. The mediation procedure has been available to people going through family breakdown for over 10 years. As of the 22nd April 2014, the public could no longer access the court system unless they satisfied they had been to a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting.

You may be able to get legal aid to help pay for family law mediation. The criteria will be widened to encourage people to attend, rather than issue court proceedings. Where one person is entitled to legal aid for mediation, the whole cost of mediation will be paid for by the Legal Aid Agency.

Prior to the changes, the attendance of the applicant at a mediation meeting was desirable but not mandatory. But after the changes to the family court, any relevant family application can be rejected without the applicant’s proof of attendance. A few people will be exempt from joining family law mediation, depending on their circumstances. Naturally, they will need to prove their case before the court issues their application.

How Major Family Law Is Taking Action

In response to these changes to the family court, Major Family Law are the lead provider of a new national mediation initiative, Lawyer Supported Mediation (LSM). LSM provides a fixed fee service combining:

  • Legal advice
  • Mediation
  • Preparation
  • Pre and post mediation drafting

As lawyers, we do not attend the family law mediation. Instead, we support the process. We work together to achieve a cost-effective solution for our clients whilst keeping it out of court.

For further information concerning the Newcastle family court or Lawyer Supported Mediation, please contact Joanne Major, Principal at Major Family Law, the Divorce and Family Law Specialists.