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New government pilot with Resolution for family disputes

On Tuesday March 26, 2024 the UK Parliment considered a formal question on family resolution and particularly, Resolution’s “Vision For Family Justice. Resolution is a community of family justice professionals who work with families and individuals to resolve issues in a constructive way. Resolution was founded in 1982 by a group of family lawyers who believed that a non-confrontational approach to family law issues would produce better outcomes for separating families and their children.

Lord Chancellor Alex Chalk replied, “I recently met my constituent David Winnett, who is a family law solicitor and a member of Resolution. He told me about Resolution’s vision for family justice. I wonder whether my right hon. and learned Friend is familiar with that vision, particularly the importance placed on early legal advice in family disputes. Is there scope to add Resolution’s proposed scheme to the mediation pilots that the Government currently have planned?”

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Speaker said, “Resolution does exceptionally important work, and in the Budget the Chancellor announced an additional £55 million of support for separating parents, including £12 million to deliver a new pilot. We are working with Resolution and other organisations to implement the pilot, which we aim to launch in September this year.”

Resolution, the family justice campaigning body, welcomed the announcement, having called for public funding for early legal information and advice since the widespread withdrawal of legal aid more than ten years ago.

Jo Edwards from Resolution said, “We welcome the announcement of a pilot for funding early legal advice and look forward to working with the Ministry of Justice to demonstrate how this can help separating parents find the right way forward for them and, where possible, reach agreement outside court.

We’re also pleased that the government has listened to Resolution and dropped proposals to compel couples into family mediation. Mediation can be extremely effective, but it’s not right for every couple and works best when it is entered into voluntarily.  The proposals also risked making victims of domestic abuse feel that they had no option but to go into mediation.”

In November 2023, Resolution launched its Vision for Family Justice, which sets out where and how changes need to be made to address the current issues facing the family justice system. This includes public funding for early legal information and advice, and ensuring there is better information available about all out of court options available.

David Winnett of Hopkins Solicitors said, “One key aspect of the Vision, is Early Access to Family law Advice. In the same way that you should see you Doctor or Dentist as soon as the pain starts (& not only when it’s become terrible), people should contact their family Lawyer once they think there may be a problem. At Hopkins we can offer that initial consultation for £200+VAT. If you know anyone who may need us, please ask them to contact me on dwinnett@hopkins-solicitors.co.uk or 01159105555.”

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