Family Matters is delighted that two members of its team have been able to contribute to a Ministry of Justice (MoJ) family mediation workshop which took place in London on Thursday 8th November.
Claire and Alison represented Family Matters after the MoJ invited the firm to take part in the workshop, which looked at best practice in encouraging the take-up of mediation, where children or finances are involved, by both parents as an alternative to court proceedings.
The Ministry of Justice supports the use of mediation before court and is introducing new technology and different ways of providing information to help both separating and separated parents thinking about applying to court regarding their children.
The workshop focused on creating website content which will help both parents – the parent who is applying to court (the applicant) and the parent who has not applied to court (the respondent) – and ways in which the website can be adapted for use in a range of situations, such as a mediation chatbot and ensuring it gives accurate and helpful information to both parents.
Claire and Alison found the workshop innovative and productive and returned from it enthusiastic and excited. It was widely accepted within the workshop that the court process is lengthy and costly. Participants agreed that if parents had more information and confidence that decisions made in mediation could be formalised, and a document prepared within mediation, court attendance may not be required or could be more streamlined. Ideas as to how this could be achieved were discussed.
They brought back ideas that will be developed and adapted to suit the needs of parents accessing the Family Matters’ website and to encourage them to use mediation services, rather than thinking that court is the only option.
Claire said: “I am delighted to have been involved in such an exciting initiative. It was particularly interesting to hear how other mediators interact with their clients to help them engage in the mediation process and how new technology can help us do this more effectively.”
Alison said: “It was a great opportunity to hear about the ways in which the Ministry of Justice is helping separating parents and what more can be done in the future.”