What are MIAMs and why are they helpful?
MIAMs, otherwise known as “Mediation Intake Assessment Meetings”, are meetings which now have to take place before many applications in relation to children or finances.
The purpose of a MIAM is to explore different ways of resolving your dispute as it may be that there are alternatives, such as mediation or collaborative law, which may be more suitable and ultiamtely be more successful, less expensive and less stressful and contentious. Mediation is however not suitable for everyone, especially when there may be concerns about domestic abuse. The purpose of a MIAM is to identify both when options like mediation are suitable or unsuitable depending on your individual case.
A MIAM not only explores mediation and alternatives to litigation, but your mediator will also give you more information about the different processes and other resources which may assist you and your family. MIAMs cannot be undertaken by any solicitor advising you as should a MIAM be succesful, and a suitable avenue of dispute resolution for you and your former partner, then the mediator undertaking your MIAM may go on to mediate for you.
If having attended your MIAM it is clear that mediation is not a viable alternative method of dispute resolution for your dispute, then the mediator may sign your Court application form to confirm that you have attended a MIAM.
We charge £100 plus VAT per person for an individual MIAM.
What happens at a MIAM and who attends?
A MIAM is a meeting with a trained mediator. Both the individual intending to make the court application as well as the prospective respondent to the proceedings are both expected to attend MIAMs. They often take place separately, but can take place together. If the prospective respondent decides to attend a separate MIAM then this should be with the same mediator.
At the meeting, the mediator will discuss with the parties the nature of their dispute and assess whether the dispute can be resolved without resorting to court proceedings. The mediator will provide information about mediation and other appropriate forms of resolving disputes, and assess whether mediation is a suitable way in which the dispute in question can be resolved.
What are the benefits of MIAMs?
There are many benefits to non-court dispute resolution that can be explored during a MIAM. These benefits include resolution through discussion and negotiation as opposed to through the contentious, and often stressful, nature of the court process. Attending a MIAM has the benefit of exploring dispute resolution options with a trained independent individual as well as enabling the parties to be fully informed as to the advantages of mediation.
If a MIAM is attended and it is deemed that mediation is not appropriate in the circumstances, then the applicant must ensure that the mediator confirms on their court application form or a separate form that she or he has attended the MIAM before seeking to issue their application.
Exceptions to MIAMs
There are a number of exceptions to the requirement to attend a MIAM prior to a relevant court application and these are set out in Part 3 of the Family Procedure Rules 2010.
If an exception is claimed, the applicant must include on their court application form confirmation from a mediator that a ‘mediator’s exemption’ applies. Such exemptions include situations where the respondent is unwilling to attend a MIAM.
Alternatively, the applicant can claim that a MIAM exemption applies. Such exemptions include cases involving domestic violence and supporting evidence of this exemption should be supplied at the first court hearing.
Even if the case progresses to court proceedings, the court has the power to adjourn proceedings at any stage in order for alternative dispute resolution, such as attendance at a MIAM, to be attempted. This may occur if proceedings are underway and the court decides that a MIAM exemption has not been validly claimed.
Who to contact?
The individual intending to make the application to court should contact a MIAM qualified mediator to set up the meeting. Creighton & Partners have experienced mediators that can offer an individual MIAM for a fixed fee of £100.00 plus VAT. If it transpires at the MIAM that non-court dispute resolution such as mediation is an appropriate way forward, Creighton & Partners are also able to offer privately funded mediation at £150 plus VAT per hour for the couple together.
Whether you are an individual, or a solicitor looking to refer someone for a Mediation Intake Assessment Meeting, please contact our solicitor mediators, Tanya Jamal or Tony McGovern who are able to undertake MIAMs at either our London or Staines offices.