Letter: Talking divorce

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Your report "Legal reform plan `will add to acrimony of divorce' " (15 December) gives the impression that divorces will become more acrimonious as a result of the proposed legal aid reforms. It may be worth pointing out that there is an emphasis in mediation throughout the Lord Chancellor's paper Modernising Justice, which mediators will welcome.

In the field of divorce, the value of mediation is enshrined in the Family Law Act; it is obviously sensible that, wherever possible and appropriate, parents talk through and decide together the future practical and financial arrangements for their children, with whom they both, in most instances, will have a continuing relationship. The Legal Aid Board is working with the UK College of Family Mediators and other mediation bodies, such as National Family Mediation, to make legal aid available for family mediation in preparation for the implementation of the Family Law Act.

Using conditional fees for property disputes ought not, whatever its pros and cons, to affect those eligible for legal aid who choose mediation, as they would not be seeking to resolve matters by litigation.

THELMA FISHER

Director

National Family Mediation

London WC1

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