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Published On: January 3, 2023 | Last Updated On: June 7, 2024 | Blog | 0 comments

Mediation Information & Assessment Meetings Explained

What is a Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting?

The initial meeting during the mediation process is called a Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting, commonly referred to as a MIAM. It is an introductory meeting.

The MIAM has another context too. It may be that participants have not yet decided how they are going to resolve their disputes. They will be coming to a MIAM to learn about all other methods of settlement. There can be a court requirement to attend a MIAM to find out more about the options.

The primary aim of a MIAM, it is known that mediation is the likely next step, is to provide essential information and to have a discussion separately and confidentially with each participant before the mediation process commences. It is not a mediation session.

A MIAM session is confidential. Anything discussed in a MIAM with a participant will not be shared with the other participant, nor will it be disclosed to the court if court proceedings are issued later.  Exemptions will apply on the point of confidentiality if there is a real risk of harm or abuse or unlawful activity.

Only information that has been agreed to be shared with the other participant will be disclosed and usually just cover the next steps.


Who must attend a MIAM?

Intended settlement out of court through mediation:

Even if the participants in mediation intend to settle their dispute out of court via the mediation process, both participants must attend a MIAM separately with the agreed mediator before the mediation process commences.  This will allow an assessment to take place as to whether mediation is suitable. If it is suitable, the mediator will describe what happens next.  If it is not, the mediator will discuss other options.


For those people thinking about court proceedings:

There is now a very strong encouragement for all separating or separated families to choose another option other than going to court.  This is why attendance at a Miam, with some exceptions, is compulsory before an application to court can be made.

The mediator will discuss all the available non-court options that may be appropriate in the circumstances.  They of course include mediation, but are by no means limited to that forum.  If there is another way of resolving matters, the mediator will signpost participants to that route.


What to expect during a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting

If you are already interested in exploring mediation, the mediator should provide you with sufficient time and attention so that you can:

  1. discuss your situation,
  2. understand what mediation is,
  3. how mediation works,
  4. what options are available to you, and
  5. for the mediator to properly assess whether mediation is suitable.

If you had thought about applying to court, you will be able to explore whether mediation or any other form of non-court resolution is suitable for you and your circumstances.  This could include a neutral evaluation process, arbitration, collaborative practice, or solicitor negotiation.

By attending a MIAM session, you are not signing up for the actual mediation process. You are free to make your own mind up and so mediation starts when each participant has agreed to proceed and signed the Agreement to Mediate form after the MIAM sessions.

At the end of the MIAM session, the mediator can provide you with a form to show you have attended. This form is needed if you make an application to court.

You might also be provided with information specific to your circumstances which could include information on the effects of separation for children, debt management, counselling, accommodation, benefits and other personal professional support services.


Must you mediate and attend a MIAM?

There will be cases where it is deemed that mediation or other non-court options are not suitable or appropriate.  This can be in cases where there is domestic abuse, although there are discussions around the options, can give participants the choice, rather than be an automatic bar to mediation.

Provided the appropriate safeguards and structures are put into place including the use of shuttle and online mediation.  However, your ability to negotiate freely should not be hindered in any way. If it is, mediation is not appropriate.

Other exemptions also exist and the mediator should discuss if any of these apply to you during the MIAM.




How long is a MIAM?

A MIAM usually lasts for around 45 minutes to an hour in duration.


How much does it cost to attend a MIAM?

Please enquire as to the fixed cost of this meeting. If you are entitled to legal aid, then the MIAM and mediation sessions will be free. We can refer you to services that offer legal aid on enquiry.


What happens after the MIAM?

If each participant and the mediator agree that mediation is appropriate, then the first joint mediation session will be arranged.

Please note, that all information received by the mediator during the mediation process will be shared with each participant, although the information will remain confidential outside of the mediation process.

You can, and are often encouraged, to take legal advice from a solicitor whilst the mediation process is underway, especially for financial matters.

* Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*

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