The Legal Aid Agency has a responsibility to ensure there is appropriate legal aid service provision for mediation across England and Wales.
The FMC liaises with the LAA to ensure relevant information reaches family mediators. Click here for LAA updates.
Providing publicly-funded mediation
Mediators who want to offer publicly-funded mediation must be accredited by the Family Mediation Council (hold FMCA) and a have contract from the Legal Aid Agency. The Legal Aid Agency is an executive agency within the Ministry of Justice and is responsible for the provision of both civil and criminal legal aid and advice in England and Wales.
The Legal Aid Agency monitors the availability of publicly-funded mediation and mediators to ensure coverage is maintained. Any significant gaps in provision are addressed either through a new general bid round (because of an increase in take-up) or by running targeted bid rounds in areas identified as requiring new or additional service providers.
The Legal Aid Agency has an established Mediation Quality Mark (MQM) that sets out the required quality assurance standards for mediation service providers. You can find more information on the Family Mediation Quality Mark here.
Legal Aid Agency Updates
On 30 May 2016, new regulations for Legal Aid Agency funding of MIAMs came into force. These set out that as long as one party is financially eligible for a legally-aided MIAM, then both parties will be entitled to a legally-aided MIAM, regardless of the order in which they are seen. Updated guidance reflecting this is expected to be published soon. The statutory instrument containing this provision can be found here.
The April 2018 eligibility key card is available here.
Mediators with complex queries about LAA funding can call the LAA helpline number: 0203 334 6543. Providers will have been expected to have first consulted the guidance before calling the number.
The LAA has also asked for providers to check that their contact details are up-to-date, particularly the email address of the contact person in their service. If they wish to change this they should advise their contract manager in the first instance or else email ProviderRecords- London@legalaid.gsi.gov.uk and copy in their contract manager.