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There is an obligation upon parties to Court proceedings to attend Mediation with a view to settling matters without recourse to Court proceedings , under the pre-action protocol.

Mediation consists of several meetings with an independent mediator who will assist you in trying to resolve any issues in the most amicable and cost effective way. There are several Mediation Services in the locality.

There is a cost for mediation which will be confirmed by the Mediator at the first appointment. You may be eligible for Legal Aid in Mediation and this will be assessed by the Mediator at the first appointment. The assessment is based upon your financial circumstances alone and does not require evidence of domestic abuse, as with other levels of Legal Aid.

Your initial appointment at Mediation will be an assessment meeting with mediation commencing thereafter, if both parties consent. All issues, including disputes in relation to the children and finances can be discussed. Generally, Mediation will take approximately 3-4 sessions to conclude when, hopefully, an agreement will be reached. The agreement will then be confirmed in writing to the respective legal representatives by way of a Memorandum of Understanding. The agreement which you reach in Mediation is not legally binding and the only way in which agreements are legally binding is by way of a Court order which can be drafted in the terms agreed in Mediation and filed at Court By Consent, if appropriate.

Should Mediation not proceed, or if Mediation breaks down because you cannot agree, the Mediation Service will send a form to the legal representatives to confirm. This form can be filed at Court in any subsequent proceedings. The Court will expect to be made aware of whether Mediation has been attempted and the outcome. If Mediation has not taken place, the Court will consider at the first Court appointment the reason for this and can adjourn the proceedings and direct that Mediation takes place before proceeding with the case. You will appreciate that this could well cause a delay and have costs implications for you.

Please contact us if you wish to discuss this in more detail.