Referrals for family mediation from Law Centres
LAB statutory remit is to provide services in civil law areas and in the area of family mediation. The majority of those seeking LAB services do so for a civil law matter in relation to a family problem. The aim of the Board is to ensure that a significant number of persons experiencing family difficulties seek to resolve those difficulties with the assistance of a mediator rather than through an adversarial court process. To that end the law centre will refer clients to their paired mediation office when clients express interest in pursuing family mediation rather than the legal route. The person may, if they wish, simultaneously continue to pursue an application for civil legal advice/aid, but legal proceedings will not be commenced while the mediation process is ongoing.
The form (see Appendix H) is used by law centres to refer persons who express an interest in family mediation. The law centre will ask the person to complete the form. They will then scan the form and email it to the family mediation office. When the family mediation office receives the form they should begin the process of registering the person for family mediation as if the person had made direct contact with the mediation office.
When registering a new case referred from Law Centres (reference number will have “RN” tag), click on “RP”. The database user is only required to enter the details for Party 1 enabling the case to become active without the 2nd party confirming they wish to attend. In this case the P2 will be listed as unknown. Note:
- input the mobile phone details for RP cases in “Phone Number” field; do not use the SMS Mobile Number.
- Input any court orders
Click on “Open Mediation Sessions Page” and “Add New Session” to input details of “1st Info Session”.
Create appointment and assign mediator in the same manner as All issue cases.
If the mediator has obtained the relevant information, and Party 1 wishes to proceed in the process, then 2nd party will be invited by way of a letter (template letter available on “documents”). The “2nd info” appointment is created in the same way by “add new session” and inputting the prerequisite details. In “referral” type mediation the first session will always be “1st info session” followed by “2nd info session” and then if both parties agree the next session will be “1st Joint Mediation Session”. When inputting details for P1 and P2, it is essential to complete the information in respect to Law Centre Referral by choosing the office from the drop down menu at “Referred by LAB_Name” and the “EOS client Ref Num”, as these form the basis on monthly reports to the Board.
When 2nd party attends information session and both clients wish to proceed with mediation, Referral from Law Centre, mediation follows the same process as All Issue cases with exception of closing cases, where additional options of “1st party/2nd party did not proceed/did not attend” is available.
When clients reach agreement (written/non written), attach their mediated settlement document to their case on the data base. Update their case status, inputting details of how they are intending to proceed legally.
When closing Referral cases there are additional options to choose from the “Change Case Status”, identifiable by reference to “1st Party and 2nd Party”, purposeful only to Referral and Court cases.