A MIAM is an introductory meeting that is conducted by a trained mediator who discuss the dispute with both parties briefly to assess the situation and circumstances. They will then make an assessment based on the information they have gathered and decide whether mediation is appropriate. Under section 10(1) of the children and families act 2014 it is now required in certain situations that people attend a MIAM meeting before submitting applications to obtain a court order. The respondent is also expected to attend the MIAM and the court will adjourn any proceedings if they feel that the people involved should attempt non-court resolution procedures such as MIAM
When filing certain applications the applicant must complete the necessary forms for the filing plus confirmation from a qualified mediator that they have attended a MIAM. There are exemptions to the rule of attempting a MIAM first and I the applicant believes an exemption applies they can submit either a confirmation from a qualified mediator that an exemption applies or a claim that a MIAM exemption applies. If the latter is submitted all supporting documentation should be supplied at the first hearing.
MIAM’s are particularly encouraged for family disputes such as:
In situations such as those mentioned, and many others MIAM’s can be a much easier option that taking a case to court. The cost of a court case can be very high and with recent reductions in the availability of legal aid it is simply unobtainable for many people. MIAM’s and mediation in general can over a fixed cost alternative.