The legal aid changes in April did not impact the legal aid available for mediation. However, the numbers of separated couples going to mediation has dropped drastically since the new rules came into force.
Following the legal aid cuts, the number of people eligible for legal aid from a solicitor in family matters reduced significantly. The Government hoped that these people would go to mediation, which the cuts did not impact on, and resolve their problems without the need for legal advice. This doesn’t seem to be appreciated by the public, as the number of separated couples seeking legal aid mediation has dropped by a third.
As well as the possibility that people are unaware they can still receive legal aid in mediation, it is possible that the reduction has been caused due to there being no independent legal advisors encouraging clients to attend mediation. Family solicitors always try to keep matters as amicable as possible, especially when children are involved, and so have always seen mediation as a positive option in many cases. Without the ability to afford advice from a solicitor, people who could benefit from mediation may no longer be aware of the potential benefits.
Dodds Solicitors LLP offers family mediation services. If you would like to discuss whether mediation could be helpful to you, please Ashwin Topiwala on 0116-2628596.