From 29th April 2024, there are significant changes to the Family Procedure Rules, promoting the court’s powers to encourage parties to attend non-court dispute resolution at every stage in proceedings, for matters involving children and/or a financial dispute.    

The court will require parties to file and serve Form FM5, setting out their views on using non-court dispute resolution as a means of resolving matters raised in the proceedings.  The court can then adjourn proceedings to allow parties to attend non-court dispute resolution, and If one or both parties fail to attend, then the court may make an order for costs against the non-complying party. 

In many cases, non-court dispute resolution such as mediation, collaborative law and family arbitration, allow parties to reach an agreement quicker, whilst avoiding the significant expense and stress of litigation. 

Whilst the new rules do not compel parties to engage in non-court dispute resolution, it is hoped that the change in the rules will result in a culture shift with parties being encouraged to attend alternative forms of dispute resolution at every stage in the proceedings, or risk potential costs consequences by failing to do so. 

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