The true sign of a civilised family justice system is to have more people resolve disputes outside the courts, Justice Minister Simon Hughes said today.
Speaking at the Family Mediators Association conference in London this morning, Family Justice Minister Simon Hughes said that at a time of significant change for the family justice system it was important for people involved in cases to have ownership of their arrangements by coming to decisions themselves – as they do through mediation.
He highlighted recent work by the Ministry of Justice, including setting up an external advisory group of experts to improve practice and make sure family mediation is focussed on the best outcomes for any children involved.
Work will continue with the judiciary, the Children and Family Courts Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) and with young people themselves to implement this.
Family Justice Minister Simon Hughes said:
Mediation works and we are committed to making sure that more people make use of it, rather than go through the confrontational and stressful experience of going to court.
It is not the sign of a civilised family justice system to have more and more people litigating in court whether with lawyers alongside them or not. A civilised system is to have more people resolving disputes away from the often confrontational atmosphere of the courtroom.
That is why we continue to give our support, both through legal aid funding and promotional work, to alternatives like mediation which can resolve disputes without going to court. Mediation is often quicker and cheaper and leads to more amicable outcomes which both sides can accept because they have agreed them together.