Mediation and Information Assessment Meetings (MIAMs)

Mediation and Information Assessment Meetings (MIAMs)

07 February 2018 Alisah Iqbal

Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAMs)

What is a MIAM?

A Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) is conducted by an authorised family mediator for the purpose of providing parties with information about mediation and other disputes resolution mechanisms available. The mediator will assess the suitability of mediation for the parties, having particular regard to any domestic violence or risk of harm for children subject to the family application.

Who is required to attend a MIAM and when?

The applicant is required to attend a MIAM before proceedings are issued, unless a MIAM exemption applies (see below). The respondent is also expected to attend the MIAM. Parties must meet the same mediator either together or separately. The applicant is required to provide the mediator with the respondent’s contact details in order enable the mediator to inform the respondent about the MIAM and ask whether s/he is agreeable to attend. In the event that the respondent is refusing to attend, the applicant is able to ask the mediator to confirm this in the relevant form.

It is a requirement to attend a MIAM before issuing any private children proceedings or any financial remedy proceedings. A MIAM is a prerequisite in all private children proceedings apart from in circumstances where a consent order is agreed. A MIAM is also no longer a requirement where there is already an order in place or on-going proceedings in relation to a child who is subject to emergency protection, care or supervision orders.

Similarly, before issuing an application for a financial remedy there is a prerequisite of attending a MIAM. Like private children proceedings, a MIAM is not necessary in financial remedy cases where a consent order is agreed. Additionally a MIAM is not mandatory to attend in cases of enforcement of financial remedy orders. Also where the applicant is seeking a financial remedy and evidences bankruptcy, s/he is not required to attend a MIAM.

MIAM exemptions

Parties are exempt from attending a MIAM in the following circumstances:

  • In matters of domestic violence;
  • Child protection concerns;
  • In matters of urgency; or
  • Previous attendance of a MIAM in the last 4 months in respect to the same or substantially same dispute.

Other MIAM exemptions

  • The applicant does not have the respondent’s contact details;
  • The applicant or the respondent is subject to disability that would prevent them from attending a MIAM;
  • The applicant or the respondent is unable to attend due to imprisonment; conditions of bail or a licence with a prohibited contact requirement in relation to the other person;
  • The applicant or the respondent is not habitually resident in England or Wales.
  • The applicant has contacted all authorised family mediators within 15 miles from their home and all are unavailable to conduct a MIAM within 15 business days of contact;
  • The mediator assesses the dispute and concludes that the matter is not suitable for mediation; or
  • The respondent refuses to attend the MIAM.

Please note that evidence of a ground for exemption will be required. For example, where domestic violence is alleged the applicant must provide evidence such as pending criminal proceedings in respect to the violence or unspent conviction; a protective injunction; or a health professional report and so forth.

Consequences of failing to attend a MIAM

The court can adjourn proceedings and direct parties to attend a MIAM.

Mediators and funding

The mediator conducting the MIAM must be authorised by the Family Mediation Council’s code of conduct and must have completed additional training to conduct MIAMs. To find a local authorised mediator, visit https://www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk/

Most mediators do charge for the meeting and subsequent mediation. The mediator will assess whether parties are eligible for public funding.

All publication correct at the time of publishing.

If you have any questions about MIAMs, please do get in touch with a member of Neves’ Family department.