August 2, 2023

What is a mediation information and assessment meeting (MIAM)? And why is it important?

What is a MAIM - RWK Goodman

If you have a client who you think would benefit from attending mediation you may refer them to a mediator, and the mediator will invite them to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM).

Those wanting to attend mediation have been required to attend a MIAM since 1997, and since 22 April 2014 almost all divorcing and separating couples in England and Wales, who want to use the Court process to resolve any disagreements about children or money, must have attended a MIAM first (unless exemptions apply).

What are the guidelines for mediators to conduct MIAMs? 

Some new standards governing the conduct of MIAMs by mediators came into force on 1st October 2022 and set out very clearly how mediators are to conduct MIAMs. The idea of these standards is to ensure that mediators have consistency of delivery of MIAMs and ensure protection of the public. It also allows the mediator to establish reliable suitability for mediation for each case.

A MIAM is an opportunity for potential participants to learn about mediation and other dispute resolution processes so they can make informed choices about how best to resolve issues arising from separation. The MIAM also allows mediators to assess the suitability of mediation for the participants, and provides them with the opportunity to signpost their clients to other services should that be necessary.

How much does a MIAM cost? And how long will it take?

A MIAM meeting is likely to take approximately an hour and certainly should not take less than 45 minutes. There is usually a cost to the MIAM session unless the client is eligible for Legal Aid. The cost of attending a MIAM can vary between mediation services but is usually between £100 and £200 plus VAT.

What happens at a MIAM?

In the MIAM meeting itself the mediator can provide information to the client about mediation and how the process works. They will provide information to the client about the principles of mediation, ensuring that the participant understands  that the mediation process is voluntary, the discussions in mediation are confidential (save for some exceptions), the mediators are impartial (they are not allowed to take sides), and that the decisions rest with the clients.

The mediator will provide information to the client about:

  • The likely costs of them attending mediation.
  • Whether they might be eligible for Legal Aid (and signposting them to a Legal Aid mediation service should the mediation service not provide it).
  • The benefits and challenges of mediation.
  • The likely timescales involved.
  • The value of legal advice in all cases.

During the meeting the mediator will discuss with the client their situation and what they might like to discuss in mediation. By doing this they will be able to obtain an overview of the client’s situation and consider the suitability of mediation to that particular case.

Legal Thinking 2022 RWKG (1)
Legal Thinking Podcast - The importance of mediation in family law

Joanna Toloczko and Jayne Martins from our Family team are joined by Claire Black, a specialist Divorce & Break up Coach, Master NLP Practitioner, and author of 'Break-up: from Crisis to Confidence', to explain why mediation is important for families going through separation or divorce.

Listen in here

Is my case suitable for mediation?

An important part of the MIAM is for the mediator to assess whether the case is suitable for mediation. Therefore the mediator will discuss with the client if there might be any relevant issues such as; domestic abuse, drug or alcohol addiction, child abuse, or any mental health issues that may impact on the ability of the clients to engage in the mediation process. A mediator will only proceed with mediation if it is safe for all parties to do so and the MIAM provides an important safeguarding check.

The mediator in a MIAM must also provide information to the client of other out of Court ways of resolving issues, so they are able to make an informed decision as to whether mediation might be the right process for them, and allow them to fully consider their options.

Do both parties attend a MIAM?

A mediator should conduct all MIAMs individually so that the client does not attend a MIAM with the other party as this would impact the mediator’s ability to assess the safeguarding. It is also likely that MIAMs will take place on a different day to when a joint mediation session might take place. This ensures that all parties have time to reflect on the information provided in the MIAM, and are able to decide on whether they wish to proceed with mediation or not.

The mediator will discuss with the client during the MIAM the practical arrangements for mediation such as; when it might be convenient for meetings to take place; where the meetings will take place; and whether they will be in person, in offices, or online.

A mediator conducting a MIAM for one party must also invite the other party to attend a separate MIAM even if it is clear that the mediation is not going to proceed. Both parties must have had the opportunity to have attended a separate MIAM.

What are the benefits of attending a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting?

Overall, the MIAM is a very effective way of providing clients with detailed information about mediation and how the mediation process works, costings, and timescales. It also provides clients with wider information about other processes that may be available to them, and highlights the importance of legal advice.

Mediation is not suitable in all cases and therefore the MIAM is an invaluable way for all parties to ascertain whether mediation might be an appropriate process for a particular client. If mediation is not proceeding, or is not considered to be safe or an effective option in a particular situation, the mediator is able to sign a form confirming that the client has attended a MIAM but that the mediation is not going ahead.


We believe it is almost always best to keep family disputes out of the courts, and avoid the expense, delay, and stress, of contested court proceedings wherever possible.

For more information on mediation services contact our specialist family mediators today on 0800 923 2074 or fill in our contact form here

Meet our experts in mediation

Jayne Martins RWK Goodman
Partner | Head of the Financial Remedies Team