Government response to FJR on dispute resolution - key points
The government has published its response to the Family Justice Review, available here. The Family Justice Review Final Report which was published in November 2011 highlighted a range of issues in the current system and proposed far-reaching reforms. The government plans to accept the majority of the Panel’s recommendations. The key points from a dispute resolution perspective are:
• Generally out of court resolution of disputes will receive much government encouragement
• As anticipated the term “Dispute Resolution Services” has been adopted by the government with immediate effect with a view to putting non court based services on a par with court service. The Resolution ADR Committee has already been renamed as the Dispute Resolution Committee.
• The government will bring in legislation to reinforce the Pre-application Protocol.
• Mediators will need to be skilled at assessment and signposting to different services where appropriate and they will be the “key practitioner”
• Training and accreditation of mediators will need to be reviewed, adapted and harmonised.
• PIPs will be made available to parents as part of the pre-court dispute resolution process.
• The government will look carefully at the recommendations in the interim report of the review of the FMC due out in March 2012.
• The amount of funding available for publicly funded mediation will increase by £10M to £25M.
• The government will consider setting up a public law mediation pilot with other stakeholders.
Resolution currently expects the government to develop any legislative provisions (subject to parliamentary timings) between May and September this year.
An online hub for those using the family justice system is expected to be available, though not with full content, by Spring 2013.
Resolution is already engaged with officials working on all these areas and seeking to challenge the workability of certain areas or influence the detail of implementation.