*Mann v Mann

Family proceedings – Orders in family proceedings. The husband maintained that the wife was debarred from proceeding by virtue of an agreement to mediate made in November 2011. The wife disputed that. She maintained that the court could not force or coerce her to mediate, whatever she might have agreed. Following consideration of alternative dispute resolution in the civil field and ADR in the family sphere (FDR) as governed by the Family Procedure Rules 2010, the Family Division held that the parties remained bound by their agreement to mediate, however, it could not be given effect so as to prevent the wife from applying for enforcement until and unless mediation had taken place. A bar of that nature would operate as a restriction on the right to apply to the court. The most that could be done in balancing the obligation to mediate under the agreement and the right of access to justice was for an adjournment to be ordered for a specified period to give the parties a final opportunity to engage in ADR.