There have, for some now, been long waits for (and between) hearings in the family court system. Hearings in Bradford about financial issues and “custody” of and “access” to children are typically about three months apart. It’s probably not going to get any better any time soon, judging by the latest government statistics. They show an increase in the number of cases issued in The Family Court over the last quarter, of 10%. It’s not clear how this fits in with the government’s attempt to divert cases away from the family court system and towards mediation, by making attendance at Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (“MIAMs”) effectively compulsory for financial issues and “custody” of and “access” to children cases. Perhaps those attending MIAMs are sceptical about the benefits of mediation. If so, that’s a shame, as some cases are best dealt with through mediation. However, not all cases are suitable for mediation and mediators are trained to screen out those that are not suitable. Mark Tattersall, partner at Chivers Walsh Family Law.