Newcastle’s Top Divorce Lawyer, Lucinda Connell reports the number of separated couples undergoing publicly-funded mediation has dropped by almost a third, compared to the same period last year, since the removal of legal aid from divorce lawyers in April 2013.

Data supplied to, the network of family lawyers, in response to a freedom of information request shows an even greater reduction for July and during which the number of mediations commencing fell by 43% compared to the corresponding months last year.

The figures shall be no surprise to family lawyers who, despite popular opinion to the contrary, have been keen to promote the advantages of mediation to their clients. Most separating couples only learn of the availability of mediation when obtaining initial legal advice and the numbers of persons obtaining such advice has decreased in line with the withdrawal of legal aid.