Number of people in family mediation rises

The number of people using mediation to resolve family disputes has risen, the government announced this week. In their figures for the third quarter of 2015 – July to September – the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) revealed that the number of mediation sessions started was 19 per cent higher than last year.

The MoJ admitted that the number of people seeking mediation “fell sharply” after the introduction of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO). However, they claimed that those numbers have now “stabilised at around half of pre-LASPO levels”.

Disputes involving children were the most common during this quarter, with 1,455 ‘mediation starts’ during that time. This represents 64 per cent of all sessions. They also resulted in a successful agreement in 67 per cent of cases, making it the category with the highest success rate according to the MoJ.

Last month, research suggested that while people wanted to avoid the court system, their enthusiasm for mediation was relatively low. While 70 per cent of those surveyed claimed they had approached the other party outside of court to come to an agreement, only 23 per cent had pursued mediation.


By Stowe Family Law Web Team
December 19, 2015


Connie Theron, Practising Attorney - UCT Law Clinic
“While working at the University of Stellenbosch Legal Aid Clinic and later at the UCT Law Clinic, I found the pro bono mediation services of Gerrie van der Watt of the Mediation Centre to be highly professional and extremely effective in our divorce matters. It is fantastic that our clients, with little or no financial means, can benefit from such an excellent programme.

The mediators are able to provide a non-threatening environment in which the clients are able to talk openly about issues that matter most to them, but which the Court in a divorce matter may choose not to entertain. Through the mediation sessions, the clients are able to reach an agreement together which ultimately they are both happy with. In cases where mediation did not yield the result of a settlement, the process was still extremely valuable, giving the parties better perspective and highlighting the key issues in dispute.”