Over the last 4 months we have seen a surge in the number of cases that are accessing our service through legal aid. We are also aware of a lot of people fail the legal aid test and so do not progress to mediation.
The Norfolk Family Mediation Service aims to provide cost effective mediation to those in Norfolk that need the help. The ability to access mediation should not be based on income. Therefore we are pleased to announce an extension of our discounted fee to all those people in Norfolk who earn less than the living wage.
The current real living wage is £9 hour, £333 a week, £1,462 a month or £17,550 a year according to the Living Wage UK.
For those attending an assessment (MIAM) meeting we will asses them for legal aid, if they do not pass this test and they have evidence that in the last month they have earned less than the living wage then we will reduce the cost of the mediation session by a third. This means that for a couple being assessed and undertaking two mediation sessions (the average needed to reach an agreement) they would be paying a total of £570 between them.
Family Mediation is one of the areas within a divorce where legal aid is available for families. Over the 1st 3 months of this year around 47% of the cases we have seen have been eligible for legal aid.
This rate traditionally, has been available to those on a very low income, however we are pleased to be able to increase the range of people who can benefit from this support due to the generous funding supplied by Norwich Consolidated Charities.