It was a pleasure to be invited to and take part in judging the National Mediation Competition last weekend at the University of Law run in conjunction with the CEDR.
It was inspiring to see how well developed the teaching and implementation of mediation techniques is within the various universities which took part.
To the organisers and fellow judges thank you for making the days run as smoothly as they did and ensuring it was an enjoyable and informative experience for all attending.
To the competitors who took part in the scenarios I judged you should be proud of yourselves for the excellent work you did and the insightful comments you made during feedback.
As expected I learnt from watching and listening new techniques or new applications of old techniques. I look forward to helping with next years’ competition.
The acceptance that mediation is part of the mainstream of dispute resolution was clear from all taking part. However as seen in the Gazette this week there are others who remain reluctant.
The Law Society has said that that people do not need mediation “forced upon them” as imposing a condition would “frustrate the principle” that litigants should have unimpeded access to the courts.
Anyone who has brought a claim to court in the last 3 years during the huge cuts in resources suffered by the MOJ will take issue with the description of “unimpeded” access, the very fact that the courts have minimal support staff and the plethora of litigants in person slowing the whole process down has caused more delay to the court system than anything proposed by the Civil Mediation Council.
Despite their (some might say self-serving) reservations the Law Society accepted that alternative dispute resolution was insufficiently used in all types of cases. Of course they remain supportive of a help desk that directs people to mediation provided, some might suggest, it doesn’t unduly fetter their members' fees!
Arguing that the small claims mediation service couldn’t cope with the increased complexity of RTA claims does not sit at all well with the acceptance by the MOJ that the lay person can deal with claims of significantly increased value.
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