Road traffic personal injury claims were where I cut my teeth as a young lawyer, in the years since I’ve often wondered why mediation is so little used in all forms of personal injury claims, I’d used round tables and informal mediation on numerous occasions leading up to the final decision to change role and become a mediator.
So it’s no surprise that in New Delhi that a quorum led by Justice A.K. Sikri (who also stepped down from the Supreme Court this week) has asked law makers to consider amending the Motor Vehicles Act to include provision for mediation to speed up the resolution of injury claims.
With the cuts to the court services and public funding in England and Wales the speed of all civil claims have steadily ground to a crawl (the wheels of justice grind now even slower than ever) so it would be negligent of any solicitor not to properly and fully advise their clients to seek mediation before, during and after the commencement of litigation of any civil case.
Thankfully many solicitors are now getting the message that they cannot merely pay lip service to the CPR requirement for mediation but that it actually resolves their clients issues quicker and more effectively. Yes, the draw back is that the case doesn’t garner the same level of fees but the solicitor’s first duty is to the court (including appropriate use of court time!) and then the client (not to the practice’s bank account) on the plus side the solicitor can do what they are supposed to do, close files! As one of my first bosses said to me “Get from opening to closing as efficiently as possible” and that means calling in the mediator.
It’s an example of where mediation to be successful has to take place over a number of sessions, as we’ve previously blogged it was the repeated efforts by mediators which led to the Good Friday Agreement and the end of the troubles (although today’s news has worrying echoes of that conflict).
Just because the first session (however long) of a civil mediation or commercial mediation doesn’t resolve all the issues at stake is not a reason to give up nor is it a reason to say “mediation doesn’t work”.
Mediation does work, it takes commitment on all sides, including the lawyers and the mediator who will inevitably be left drained by the level of concentration and emotion involved but ultimately mediation works. As I’ve said above mediation will still save time, money and stress.
As with this Canadian case, months of delays in the civil courts could have been avoided by taking an early informed decision to go to mediation, this time over tax changes which had a disproportionate impact on tax payers of Richmond Hill, who argue they are paying for services for the county from which they receive no benefit as city dwellers.
Russ Carpenter (Mayor of Richmond Hill) added “Richmond Hill will work with the county in good faith to resolve our differences in mediation and looks forward to building an excellent relationship when our differences are settled”
In Singapore (where mediation continues to be a boom industry) the Ministry of Law is considering proposals to make mediation and ADR a requirement in all civil claims before the issue of proceedings, which is a pro-active step further than the Civil Justice Committee’s paper on mediation in the courts of England and Wales who continue to permit cases to be issued without the requirement for mediation.
Why is it that in family cases everyone has to go to mediation (voluntary in name only) but in civil claims which take up vast quantities of court time (particularly with more litigants in person) it’s only a tick box exercise?
Mediation should be your first step even before you set off and call a solicitor and it should be your solicitor’s first call once they have the background of the claim, but the reality is that mediation in the majority of issued claims in the courts of England and Wales still only occurs after the court has made a direction, not at the instinctive reaction of the legal advisor or the parties.
There is in the offing a TV programme shadowing the civil mediators and hopefully this will increase the public’s awareness of the role of the mediator.
Back in Singapore the suggestion for enshrining mediation into law external of the legal process received the following positive response from Minister of State for Law and Health Edwin Tong “We recognise that alternative dispute resolution mechanisms such as mediation can be a valuable tool in resolving disputes or providing a forum for parties to ventilate key issues”. I’d argue that to suggest mediation is just somewhere for parties to ventilate a little steam is not the primary role of mediation, although it is part of the process but that aside it is further international recognition that mediation is the key to an early resolution without lawyers.
You don’t need a solicitor to come to mediation, you don’t need to spend thousands on legal fees or lawyer’s advice, but when you are doing part of that advice must always be to consider mediation, we can arrange to meet you or with or without your lawyer at your convenience. We work nights and weekends to ensure that the mediation takes place in a manner and at a time which impacts the least on your other commitments.
You’re thinking solicitors are useless and give conflicting advice? That’s their job, the mediator’s role is to help you conclude your case.
There are so many cases which could have been resolved by early intervention of mediation it continues to surprise me the lengths the public (and some lawyers) will go to avoid referral.
Whether you need a mediator to help out with a construction matter in the Northwest, or council’s plans in Cheshire, a civil mediator in London, a commercial mediator in Manchester, a dispute resolution for your family in Liverpool, a neighborhood mediation in Stockport, then our mediators at Northwest Mediation can help.
Mediation is cheaper, quicker and less stressful than running any case to court, it can help with any dispute whether it's an employment issue or the sale at an under value of a property, a fight with a neighbour, family issues, commercial disputes or inheritance arguments contact Northwest Mediation on 07931318347 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
neighbour mediation; commercial dispute resolution; civil mediation; commercial dispute; corporate dispute; commercial mediator; family mediation; inheritance mediation; property mediator; civil mediator; civil litigation; fast track mediation; injury mediation
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