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14 FEB 2011

Resolution says Government's mediation plans are flawed

David AllisonThe family law association Resolution has said that the Government's proposed legal aid cuts are "fatally flawed" including its plan to only fund mediation for separating families.

Resolution is concerned that large groups of vulnerable people will no longer be eligible for legal help, including people wanting to divorce or whose partner wants to divorce them. The only option available to families who still qualify for legal aid will be mediation, which is not suitable for all cases.

David Allison, Chair of Resolution, said: "A fatal flaw in the government's proposal to only fund mediation to separating families is the fact that it requires both people to be willing to take part. If one parent is denying contact to another, or refusing to be reasonable about money they can simply refuse to attend mediation.

"The only option for those then left suffering injustice is to give up, or to represent themselves in court. No easy task at the best of times, let alone at a time of high emotional stress."

Resolution is also concerned about the Government's definition of domestic violence which it says is needlessly and unhelpfully narrow and will leave people suffering domestic abuse particularly vulnerable and possibly having to represent themselves against their abuser in court.

Resolution is campaigning to persuade the Government of the need to review its proposals.

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