Family Mediation and ‘MIAMs’: Recent Rule Changes

Emma Alfieri
Emma Alfieri
Legal Director
Greene & Greene Solicitors

Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAMs) have been compulsory in Family Court proceedings since 2014.

MIAMs – What are they?

‘Mediation’ is a method of resolving disputes through an independent third party, known as a mediator. Their purpose is to assist parties in negotiating a settlement.

MIAMs are a meeting which considers and explains the potential benefits of mediation and other non-court dispute resolution (NCDR) methods. During this meeting, the mediator will provide an indication as to the method that would be most suitable to resolve the prospective applicant’s particular dispute. If you are looking to apply to the court to settle your divorce or separation issues, it is a legal requirement that you first attend a MIAM.

The Rules – What’s changing?

  1. MIAM Exemptions:

The courts are looking to update their rules around the obligations to attend a MIAM, and, from 29th April 2024, they will be introducing various changes to reflect this.

If a MIAM exemption applies, then a prospective applicant will not be required to attend a MIAM.

Previously, an application for a MIAM exemption could be accepted in the absence of any supporting evidence. The new Rules, however, require said evidence to be attached to the application.

The courts will make an initial inquiry into whether the exemption is valid, and this will be subject to an ongoing review. If an exemption is deemed invalid, the court may direct parties to attend a MIAM, and possibly adjourn proceedings for that purpose.

In these circumstances, parties are encouraged to engage with the MIAMs because the court will take parties’ conduct into account when considering whether to make an order for costs in relation to the proceedings.


A stricter approach to the MIAM exemptions means that it will be harder to avoid a MIAM. You may be asking, what are the benefits of this? Well, by exploring NCDR at an early stage, you might be able to (amicably) reach an agreement, and avoid both the time and money involved in issuing court proceedings. Early resolution can also aid in preserving relationships; this may be particularly important in cases where co-parenting is involved.

What else?

April 2024 also brings with it a new MIAM exemption. If a prospective applicant can provide written evidence that they have attended a NCDR process within the 4 months prior the date of the court application (in relation to the same, or substantially the same, dispute to which the proposed court proceedings relate), then an exemption applies. This will ensure that prospective applicants are not unnecessarily directed to attend a NCDR. ‘Written evidence’ is obtained once a NCDR provider has confirmed that the applicant has attended.

  1. An insight into parties’ attitude:

From 28th April 2024, the court is introducing a new Rule for those commencing either financial remedy proceedings or private law proceedings related to children. Applicants who fall within the relevant criteria must now file with the court, and serve on all parties, a form setting out their views on using NCDR as a method of settling.


The court has introduced this requisite to monitor and identify whether NCDR is a suitable alternative for parties. Requiring parties to record their views about NCDR on paper will encourage them to think outside of the box (or indeed the court room) and consider whether a resolution can be achieved through other means; the benefits of which have been briefly discussed above.

What can divorce experts do?

As well as supporting you in your Family Court proceedings, divorce experts can refer you to accredited mediators that are recognised by Resolution and the Family Mediation Council, to ensure you have the best chance of success at mediating your dispute.

This is only intended to be a summary and not specific legal advice.

Read more articles by Emma Alfieri.

About Emma Alfieri

Emma Alfieri is a Legal Director at Suffolk firm Greene & Greene Solicitors.

Emma advises on all aspects of family law, including divorce and associated financial matters, disputes between cohabitants and child related disputes.

A member of Resolution, Emma is committed to resolving disputes as positively and agreeably as possible whilst also being motivated to obtain the best possible outcome for her clients.

Since 2012 Emma has been consistently recommended by the Legal 500 on an annual basis and in the most recent 2024 edition Emma is ranked as a “rising star”.

As an advocate of fault free divorce, Emma lobbied at Parliament with other members of Resolution in 2016 to bring about the recent changes to divorce law.

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