On 1 April 2013, Part 1 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act of 2012 (LASPO) was enacted. This act incorporates substantial reforms to legal aid and removes access to funding in many areas of private law including those that relate to disputes arising during and after separation/divorce. One of the few exceptions to the non-availability of legal aid is where domestic violence (abuse) is present in the intimate relationship. Specifically within this act is an expectation for all ‘couples’ to either consider or propose using mediation or other forms of dispute resolution to resolve their legal disputes, by attending a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM). Legal aid will be available for the MIAM and mediation to those who are assessed as eligible. Drawing on data from a small qualitative study of the practice of family mediators during these meetings, it is suggested that, although the mediators observed screened for domestic violence and the amount of time this screening takes is established, the question of how effective that screening is remains unanswered.

Mediation, the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 and the Mediation Information Assessment Meeting

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