Newcastle and Hexham’s Top Divorce Lawyer Lucinda Connell reports figures obtained by Lawyer Supported Mediation from the Ministry of Justice in response to a Freedom of Information request have revealed a 45% year-on-year fall in the number of family cases using mediation to resolve issues. The number of publicly funded UK family mediations commenced in October 2013 fell by 45% compared to the same month in 2012.

The request also shows that 707 mediations started in October 2013 compared with 1281 in October 2012. The network says that the 45% fall is the second highest year-on-year monthly fall since changes to public funding were introduced in April 2013. Between April and October 2013, the total number of UK mediation starts fell by by over one-third (35%), compared to the same period in 2012.

Earlier this month new Family Justice Minister, Simon Hughes, Family Justice Minister stressed the importance of mediation to the divorce process. The government is introducing major changes designed to ensure that in future separating parents and couples will first consider using mediation to resolve the issues around divorce and separation rather than pursuing a remedy in court.

However, the number of people attending Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAMs) in October 2013 fell by 57% year-on-year. October 2013 also marked six months in a row that the number of couples attending MIAMs remained below half the number for the same period in 2012/13.