FREE mediation sessions from 3rd November 2014
We sometimes come across cases where both clients want mediation and the case is suitable but no mediation happens - simply because one party can't afford the private fees.
Think of a case where one parent stays in the family home with the children (we'll call him or her 'Chris') and the other parent ('Alex') has moved out and is living with relatives.
Alex may have a low income and could be earning as little as £200 a week, but may miss legal aid because of the way the calculations work eg there isn't a rent or mortgage payment. Chris's eligibility would be helped by having housing costs and there are allowances for the children living there.
Mediators often end up with frustrating cases like this: because of the way things have worked out Alex can't afford mediation fees, even if we offer our reduced fee rate for those in this situation.
From the 3rd November the government will pay for a single mediation session for people in Alex's position, because the other person is eligible for legal aid. Now both Alex and Chris would have both their initial appointments and the first mediation paid for.
Even if Alex was earning £2,000 a week (or more!) the initial appointment and first mediation would be paid for by legal aid - there is no cap on the earnings of the private client. As long as one is legally aided the other gets the free appointments.
The government has committed to pay for these free sessions for three years.