Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting
Court rules require that, before making an application to issue certain kinds of family proceedings, the applicant must attend mediation information and assessment meeting (known as a MIAM) to consider with a mediator whether the dispute may be capable of being resolved by a method other than the court process.
Mediation is a confidential process; none of the parties to mediation may provide information to the court as to the content of any discussions held in mediation and/or the reasons why agreement was not reached. The court requires all applicants in the majority of family proceedings to have complied with this requirement before commencing proceedings save in certain circumstances (see Potential MIAM exemptions below).
The purpose of a MIAM is to enable information to be provided about:
• whether mediation may be a way in which your dispute may be resolved without going to court; and
• the suitability of any other type of dispute resolution outside of the court process that may assist in resolving the dispute
The rules state that the court will expect the respondent, to attend the MIAM, but it is not compulsory for them to do so. If the other party declines to attend a MIAM you will not be prevented from subsequently issuing proceedings.
If court proceedings are issued, the court will ask at the first hearing whether either or both of you have attended a MIAM. If an exemption applies, evidence of this will be required. The court will take into account any failure to comply with this requirement and may refer you to a meeting with a mediator before the proceedings can continue further.
Potential MIAM exemptions
You are not expected to attend a MIAM if an exemption applies (as specified in the court rules), including where:
• you have previously attended a MIAM, or participated in another form of non-court dispute resolution, within the previous four months in relation to the same, or substantially the same, dispute; or
• at the time of making the application, you are participating in another form of non-court dispute resolution relating to the same or substantially the same dispute; or
• you have filed an application confirming that a MIAM exemption applies, within the previous four months in relation to the same, or substantially the same, dispute; or
• the application would be made in existing proceedings which are continuing and you attended a MIAM before issuing those proceedings; or
• the application would be made in existing proceedings which are continuing and a MIAM exemption applied to the application for those proceedings; or
• there has been, or is, a risk of, domestic violence (very specific evidence and timescales are required in relation to this exemption); or
• in relation to cases involving children, where there are child protection concerns involving a local authority; or
• the dispute concerns financial issues and you are bankrupt (specific evidence of this is required); or
• you are in agreement with the other party and, therefore, there is no dispute to mediate, i.e. you will be asking the court to make an agreed order by consent; or
• the whereabouts of the other party are unknown; or
• the prospective application is to be made without notice to the other party (usually because of urgency); or
• the prospective application is urgent (what is regarded as urgent is defined in the rules); or
• geographical and other limitations (such as disability) have made it impossible for attendance at a MIAM to be arranged
Completing the court forms
When filing an application at court for an order in family proceedings, either the MIAM section of the application form or in some cases, a separate Form FM1, must be completed confirming attendance at a MIAM or giving the reason(s) for not attending. The section/form must be completed and signed by the mediator who conducted the MIAM, where applicable, and counter-signed by you. You must confirm in the MIAM section/form that you have either:
• attended a MIAM; or
• not attended a MIAM and either:
• a MIAM exemption applies; or
• the mediator is satisfied that mediation is not suitable because of either the nature of the case or because the other party is unwilling to, or has failed to, attend a MIAM without good reason
Please complete our mediation referral form if you would like to discuss mediation with us or arrange a Mediation and Assessment Meeting.