It shouldn’t come as a massive shock to anyone that those with a vested interest in making sure cases run as long as possible have expressed “reservations” about encouraging parties to mediation.
When you read the actual objections they boil down to two issues:
Not every case is suitable for mediation
Parties shouldn’t be penalised for not engaging in mediation/ADR
Had the detractors read the Civil Mediation Council’s proposals to be put to the Civil Justice Committee they would have seen that both these issues are dealt with.
The CMC’s proposals accept that there will always be a number of cases (in my view a minority) which are not suitable for mediation and (as has always been the way with family mediation) an ability to opt out and explain why to the court.
That parties are penalised for not engaging in mediation has been part of the Civil Procedure Rules for a number of years, the CMC’s proposal is just a refocusing of parties’ attention on the need to think about mediation all along the process.
That refocusing is an absolute necessity given the cut backs, delays and ever increasing costs of court proceedings (for an example of how unashamedly high legal fees are please see here)
For some reason personal injury has always been treated as a breed apart when it comes to ADR, and yet many of us who are old enough to recall the days before the CPR and have worked on both sides of the personal injury fence recall ADR meetings between claimant (then plaintiff) solicitors and insurance claims handlers where numerous cases were settled.
The fact that those detractors admit that most cases don’t get to trial is evidence in support of the contention that mediation at an earlier point (and preferably prior to issue) not, as they maintain, evidence that no such encouragements are necessary.
But let's end on a highlight. I had the great fortune recently to conduct a mediation with a couple whose main focus from the start was their child. They'd had some difficulty in communication about contact but after a couple of hours (with my expert guidance) they managed to reach an agreement not only on regular contact but on Christmas contact as well.
Happy Christmas to them and to all.
Should you have any dispute make your New Year's resolution to save money, time and stress and mediate with Northwest Mediation.
Northwest Mediation can assist with commercial disputes, family disputes, property disputes, neighbour problems, employment disputes and contractual entanglements.
Call me on 07931318347 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org