FMC Mediation Voucher Scheme – Information For Potential Participants
The Ministry of Justice has developed a Mediation Voucher Scheme, whereby a contribution to the mediation costs of a child arrangements case (Including All issues) will be offered, encouraging people to seek Mediation to resolve their disputes outside of court where appropriate to do so. Only mediators authorised by the Family Mediation Council (FMC) are taking part in the voucher scheme and we are authorised to do so.
The purpose of the scheme is to promote the benefits of mediation and divert matters away from the family courts.
Family mediation is a proven cost-effective way to resolve differences following separation. This voucher scheme will make it even more accessible, and will help families resolve issues for themselves, without having to go to court.
What you need to know
The scheme is open to mediation participants who attend a MIAM on or after 26 March 2021.
The scheme will only allow one application per family under the voucher scheme.
The scheme will run until the fund is empty.
The scheme will only fund for the mediation sessions conducted.
The scheme covers both children only cases and AIM (All Issues)
There is no financial eligibility test.
Mediation information and Assessment Meetings (MIAMs)
Mediators are unable to make a claim for a voucher at the initial stage of Mediation. MIAMs will be conducted in the usual way, assessing a participant’s eligibility and applying for legal aid on their behalf or those costs being met on a private basis.
NB – To apply for a FMC Voucher – Both participants must have undertaken a MIAM, be willing to continue to mediate and that the Mediator has deemed Mediation appropriate and suitable to continue.
FMC Mediation Voucher Eligibility
If both participants are entitled to Free Mediation at the time of the MIAM’s, the participants will continue to receive Legal Aid throughout the Mediation process. This will not be under the FMC Mediation Voucher Scheme. Those costs will be funded by the Legal Aid Agency.
If only one participant at the time of a MIAM was eligible for legal aid, you will be offered to apply for the FMC Voucher Scheme. This would mean you would both would receive one free Mediation Session paid by the Legal Aid Agency but the non-funded participant would be entitled to receive a continuation of up to £500.00 (including VAT) for the second session onwards until those funds run out. Once the contribution has been used, our private fees will be payable for the non-funded participant.
If both participant at the time of a MIAM were not eligible for legal aid, at the time of the MIAM’s you will be offered to apply for the FMC Voucher Scheme. This would mean you would both jointly receive a contribution of £500.00 (including VAT) towards your mediation costs until those funds run out. Once the contribution has been used, our private fees will be payable.
It should be noted by all non-eligible participants that the FMC Voucher Scheme will not cover the cost of any preparation work .i.e. the Mediators Summary of Sessions, the preparation of a Parenting Plans or the drafting of a Memorandum of Understanding. These fees will be charged separately at a rate of £125.00 plus VAT per hour for any non-funded participant.
How to apply for a FMC Mediation Voucher
If you are offered to apply for a FMC Mediation Voucher, you will be asked to sign a Form of Consent which confirms your agreement to:-
- The mediator applying for a contribution towards the cost of mediation from the Mediation Voucher Scheme
- That you have not made another application for a mediation voucher under the Scheme
- That you understand the mediator will submit case information to the Family Mediation Council which will be used for research purposes
- That you understand that the Family Mediation Council will hold your data in accordance with its Privacy Notice for the Mediation Voucher Scheme which can be read at https://www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk/privacy-notice-mediation-voucher-scheme/
Once the voucher scheme reference number is received, arrangements will be made for your first Mediation Session.
All participants will be updated throughout the Mediation process of ongoing costs and amount left from the Voucher Scheme.
When Mediation concludes, you are required to complete the FMC Client Questionnaire for Data Collection regarding the Voucher Scheme. It is hoped this will gather valuable information to help shape future mediation policy.
Once mediation concluded, it is at this stage, the Mediation Service will apply for payment of the voucher.