Government Introduces Revisions to Improve Family Law Policies

The government revealed updates on 29 April 2024, to improve family law policy. Modifications have been made to the Family Procedure Rule (2010), with a focus on enhancements for “Non-Court Dispute Resolution” (NCDR).

From Monday, 29 April 2024, judges will adopt a more involved role in monitoring cases, seeking information on decisions about not engaging in non-court dispute resolution during hearings.

Hearings may be rescheduled to prioritise and include non-court dispute resolution issues, with the Judiciary evaluating delays and the success of non-court dispute resolution. The Court has revised its mediation protocols to improve efficiency and ease of access, particularly by streamlining guidelines on initial court proceedings involving Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAMs), which is compulsory to attend unless domestic abuse is involved or an exemption. These adjustments aim to boost the smooth resolution of conflicts within the Court system and include:

  • Stricter enforcement of compulsory MIAM attendance, with penalties for non-adherence and demanding proof of MIAM involvement.
  • Decrease in MIAM exemptions to encourage all parties to participate in the process.
  • Emphasis on exploring dispute resolution alternatives during legal procedures.
  • Failure to engage in NCDR could lead to heightened financial repercussions in child proceedings for non-compliance with dispute resolution.

Additionally, in keeping with the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, the government has revised the terminology on Court forms from “domestic violence” to “domestic abuse” to reflect a more inclusive understanding of the various types of harm that can occur in domestic relationships. Court forms will be updated to incorporate this terminology change, and individuals who have experienced domestic abuse will be eligible for standard exemption criteria.

To improve accessibility and information sharing, a new form titled Statement of position on non-court dispute resolution (Form FM5) has been launched and can be accessed here: Statement of position on non-court dispute resolution: Form FM5 – GOV.UK ( This form is available on the GOV.UK website, offering individuals a structured means to articulate their position on seeking resolution outside of the traditional Court environment.

Lawyers are expected to approach cases collaboratively and explore dispute resolution options. Form FM5 should be filed and served in Court, while other parties must be informed of attempts at external negotiations.

For advice and support contact our Family Law team on 0345 207 372 8 or

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