29 January 2024

Jo Edwards appears on BBC Breakfast to discuss the government’s announcement of an early legal advice pilot for separating parents

Head of Family, Jo Edwards joined Rachel Burden and Charlie Stayt on the BBC Breakfast sofa on Saturday 27 January to explain the significance for separating parents of the government’s announcement of a new early legal advice pilot from this summer.

On Friday 26 January the Ministry of Justice published its response to the “Supporting Early Resolution” consultation, launched last year. The response included the announcement of a pilot scheme to fund the provision of early legal advice for parents and that the government will no longer be proceeding with plans to make family mediation compulsory for separating couples.

Jo welcomed the announcement, as early legal advice can help separating parents understand what their rights and responsibilities are, as well as signpost to all forms of non-court dispute resolution - not just mediation. The government also took on board the consultation feedback, including Jo’s oral evidence to the Justice Select Committee, and dropped proposals to compel couples into family mediation. Whilst mediation can be extremely effective, it’s not appropriate for all couples and works best when entered into voluntarily.

At the heart of the announcement is the protection of children’s wellbeing by avoiding, where possible, lengthy acrimonious court proceedings. The most vulnerable also deserve proper court time and swifter justice.  Jo therefore calls for the announcement to coincide with more resources for family courts that currently face significant delays.

For more information about mediation at Forsters, click here.

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