A rise in litigants in person and a fall in mediation: has the government's overhaul of teh family justice system veered off course?

Jeanette Ashton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In the previous edition of Student Law Review Zoe Swan considered the potential impact of legal aid cuts under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (“LASPO”) on family law cases and mediation services. She noted the concerns of the judiciary, notably Lady Hale, who, speaking at London South Bank University in October 2013, feared that ‘people with good cases will not pursue them resulting in a denial of justice and people with good or bad cases will pursue them in person, which will be time consuming and inefficient.’ Of course the Government’s contention was that cutting legal aid for the majority of family cases would encourage couples to resolve their disputes through mediation rather than through protracted, painful and costly litigation. Following the release of government statistics in July 2014 in response to a freedom of information request by Lawyer Supported Mediation1 and the report of the Family Mediation Task Force2, this article examines the rise of litigants in person and the apparent failure of the Government’s objective for increased resolution of family law disputes through mediation. Whilst it is not difficult to conclude that the family justice system is facing a real crisis, the results of the analytical summary 2014 of ‘Public experiences of and attitudes towards the family justice system’3 perhaps offer a more positive outlook and are briefly considered at the end of the article.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-32
Number of pages2
JournalStudent Law Review
Volume73
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2014

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