critical. There is plentiful evidence, in the UK and abroad, that mandatory referral to mediation which follows immediately upon the parties seeking legal help is not effective as a means of securing legal settlement. Equally there is evidence that court-sponsored mediation which follows earlier attempts to negotiate on a bi-partisan basis can indeed ‘work’ in these terms.
Government support, because of the association with reasonableness and compromise, as well as the belief that spiraling legal costs will be reduced.
The Children and Families Act 2014 made mediation compulsory for applicants, usually fathers. Also judges and magistrates now act as 'gatekeepers' under the new law deciding whether fathers have met the necessary threshold of mediation before they can make an application to the Family Court to see their child or children. These new measures have more to do with reducing spiraling legal costs than reasonableness and compromise.