STAFF at an Devon-based national charity welcomed local MP Ben Bradshaw to their Exeter office to discuss the future of family mediation.

The visit came just two weeks before a landmark law change makes it compulsory for divorcing and separating couples to attend a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting before they apply for a court order.

“We were delighted to have the opportunity to discuss with Ben the challenges that mediation services across England and Wales have been facing since Legal Aid entitlements were slashed a year ago”, said Jane Robey, NFM’s Chief Executive.

“The change in the law, effective on 22 April, is one that as yet the man and woman in the street knows little or nothing about, despite the transformative effect it is likely to have. Courts will be required to know that mediation has been considered before they are able to proceed with an application. The meeting will give families an opportunity to find out if there is an easier and quicker way of settling their separation using mediation.”

National Family Mediation, whose national office is in Barnfield Hill, Exeter, is the largest provider of family mediation services in England and Wales, with a network of accredited family mediation services delivering in over 500 locations.