Asya Panchalieva

Associate Solicitor

DATE PUBLISHED: 29 Apr 2024 LAST UPDATED: 29 Apr 2024

Government’s changes to Family Law Policy 2024

The Government has put forward proposals for changes to be made to family law policy acknowledging the impact of long-term conflict on adults and children.

The report has set out new measures proposed by the Government as follows:

  • Providing useful information when conflict first arises including signposting to necessary support. This includes developing new online and offline tools.
  • Making early legal advice more available.
  • Increasing parenting programmes. This includes investing £300 million to set up “Family Hubs” to provide support for parenting.
  • Encouraging alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation, if appropriate.

The Government is setting out to reform the family law system so that the process has a more investigative approach, rather than confrontational. There will also be more focus on the voice of the child and providing additional support to vulnerable parents and carers.


The report has specifically mentioned the use of mediation as a form of dispute resolution and the changes that are going to be made to try and promote this, as follows:

  • Continue to support the Mediation Voucher Scheme and has promised to invest up to £23.6m into this scheme by March 2025. As of December 2023, the Mediation Voucher Scheme has helped over 24,000 families to resolve their issues.
  • Focus on “child-inclusive mediation” ensuring that the child’s voice is at the centre of any dispute.

As of today, 29 April 2024, there are changes to the Court’s process in terms of mediation and new Court forms to use when starting a Court case. Rules surrounding Mediation Information Assessment Meetings (MIAMs) have been narrowed to make them applicable to more people. The rules coming into force as of today are as follows:

  • The Court will ensure more effective enforcement of the requirement to attend a MIAM. The Court will be stricter, including if a previous MIAM exemption no longer applies. This means that your Court application will not be processed if you have not attended a MIAM and you are not exempt.
  • Having fewer MIAM exemptions available to encourage parties to attend. This means that if you are not exempt, you must attend a MIAM.
  • The Court will encourage parties to use dispute resolution if this is deemed suitable at any point in the proceedings.
  • There will be amendments to the rules on Costs Orders in financial remedy cases. If the Court considers dispute resolution appropriate, but no reasonable attempt has been made to attempt this, this can be considered as “conduct” when deciding whether to make a Costs Order for one party to pay all or part of the other’s legal costs. This will be a very important consideration to note in order to avoid having to pay the other party’s costs.

How can Ellis Jones help?

If you would like to book in an appointment with one of our Family Solicitors or Mediators, or if you would simply like more information in relation to mediation and the changes in family law policy, please do not hesitate to contact our experts at the Family Department on 01202 636223.

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When you submit this form an email will be sent to the relevant department who will contact you within 48 hours. If you require urgent advice please call 01202 525333.

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