Changes to the Family Procedure Rules, relating to MIAMs and Non-Court Dispute Resolution

On 29 April 2024, further changes to the Family Procedure Rules (FPR) come into effect.

If you are currently involved in financial remedy proceedings, or are about to start such proceedings, these changes may be relevant to you.

Here’s Charlotte explaining what the changes are, and why they are being introduced.

What are the Family Procedure Rules (FPR)?

The first question you may be asking is, what are the Family Procedure Rules?

In short, these are rules designed to inform you, your solicitor, and the court of ‘what to do’ when you have a case in the family court.

The FPR covers a range of topics including case management powers, non-court dispute resolution, statements of case, evidence, and service.

The rules are supplemented by Practice Directions (referred to as PDs). The PDs will inform you and your solicitor on ‘how to do’ something at court.

In other words, you can think of the FPR and PDs as the “rulebook” of Family Law.

Both the FPR and the PDs can be accessed online, and your family lawyer may direct you to certain provisions, as necessary.

What has changed?

Now let’s talk about the changes.

The incoming changes relate to Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings, also known as MIAMs, and non-court dispute resolution. By way of background on these topics, we would recommend looking at our previous blog posts: Do I have to go to mediation? The benefits of arbitration over going to court and The benefits of family mediation.

Changes to the Practice Directions (PD3A)

Two amendments relate to Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAMs).

The current law states that it is compulsory to attend a MIAM before issuing court proceedings, so that you can show the judge that you have met with a mediator and explored options for resolving matters before resorting to court. There are some limited exceptions to this, which can be discussed with your family lawyer.

The first amendment being made corrects a minor numbering error in the Practice Direction.

The second amendment relates to a new form which both parties will be required to complete, setting out their views on engaging with non-court dispute resolution.

The introduction of this form is intended to encourage parties to engage with non-court dispute resolution and to only issue court proceedings if necessary.

Tisshaws offer a range of non-court dispute resolution approaches and can advise on which options might be best for you and your family.

Changes to the Family Procedure Rules

On 29th April 2024, the remainder of the provisions of the Family Procedure Rules 2023 (Amendment No 2) take effect.

These include:

  • That the definition of “non-court dispute resolution” will be expanded to mean ‘methods of resolving a dispute other than through the court process, including but not limited to mediation, arbitration, evaluation by a neutral third party (such as a private Financial Dispute Resolution process) and collaborative law’.

This means that the definition will go beyond just mediation, and you will now be encouraged to consider a variety of different methods for non-court dispute resolution.

  • That MIAM providers will be required to inform attendees about which form(s) of non-court dispute resolution may be most suitable and why, as well as provide guidance on how to proceed with those methods.
  • That it will no longer be required to have the agreement of the parties when adjourning the proceedings to encourage parties to undertake non-court dispute resolution. Instead, where the timetabling of proceedings allows sufficient time for these steps to be taken, the court may adjourn the proceedings.

This means that it may be taken out of your hands, if the court considers that there is sufficient reason and time for the proceedings to be delayed for the purpose of non-court dispute resolution. As such, if participating in financial remedy proceedings, you will need to engage in any settlement discussions and explore what avenues may be best for you and your family.

  • Amendments across the FPR and PDs to reflect the change of terminology and definitions from domestic violence to domestic abuse, in line with the Domestic Abuse Act 2021.
  • That the threshold for meeting the financial hardship exemption from attending a MIAM is to be heightened from unreasonable hardship to significant financial hardship.

This tightens the provision, making it harder for applicants to rely on this. Hardship must now be to such a degree that it is significant.

  • Finally, and arguably most importantly, the court may now consider, when determining whether to make an order for costs, any failure by a party, without good reason, to attend a MIAM or non-court dispute resolution.

All the above changes are intended to promote the early resolution of private Family Law disputes without resorting to the courts.

For reference, please refer to the following links:


Given these impending changes, if you are currently involved in financial remedy proceedings, or are about to start financial proceedings, we would recommend that you take legal advice, tailored to your personal circumstances.

At Tisshaws, we have a team of qualified family lawyers, collaborative lawyers and mediators who can help you reach a financial settlement on divorce.

We offer a no obligation initial consultation for a fixed fee of £100 (incl. VAT), for up to one hour with a specialist family lawyer. At this meeting, we can discuss your personal circumstances and explain what options might work best for you and your family.

To book an appointment please call 01444 472700, email us at or complete the form below.

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