Mediation is a process that encourages people in dispute to come together to discuss their issues and try to find solutions. It is generally a cheaper and quicker option than going to court. It can also be less stressful for all involved. However, like any service it isn’t free and there are costs associated with mediation.
The cost of mediation can vary depending on whether the case is about children or finances and how many sessions are required. On average it takes two mediation sessions for a financial mediation and four for a ‘all issues’ mediation. There is also the cost of preparing any documentation which may be necessary such as an Open Summary of Financial Information or a Memorandum of Understanding.
For those who qualify, legal aid is available to cover the mediation fee and any additional costs such as drafting documentation. This is means tested so you would need to be assessed for eligibility. Generally, the costs of the first mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) are covered as is the first full mediation session for those who are entitled to legal aid.
If you’re not eligible for legal aid, fees are typically charged on an hourly basis or by reference to a fixed fee package, with the cost of drafting any documents agreed in advance. Typically the cost of a family or workplace mediation will be considerably lower than if you go to court, as it will save you thousands in costly Court and Tribunal fees, Barristers, Solicitors and experts costs. It will also save you time and money in lost productivity and manpower.
There is a growing trend towards encouraging and even compulsory mediation before a court application can be made. This is evident in the Family Court protocol which requires parties to attend a MIAM (Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting) before commencing court proceedings, and the requirement that employers must attempt reconciliation with their employee in the Employment Tribunal.
A good mediator can help you achieve an acceptable resolution for your situation, which could involve an out-of-court settlement or a court order such as a Consent Order. The agreement reached in mediation can then be put into writing by your solicitor to form the basis of your legal separation or divorce.
It is advisable that you discuss your options with your ex-partner and try to agree on the terms of your separation prior to entering into mediation. It can be very helpful to have an outsider view your case and provide you with a fresh perspective. They can also offer practical advice on what to do and how to proceed. However, they are not able to provide you with legal advice, which can only be obtained from a qualified solicitor. DMS has links with pro-mediation solicitors who can offer 30 minutes of free advice to assist you before any costs are incurred. This can be arranged with DMS via our enquiries team. DMS is an independent mediation service provider based in Leeds, Harrogate and London. mediation costs uk