Increasing the use of mediation in the civil justice system
Outside of our main areas of law, but might be of interest:
Ministers have published a blueprint for major reforms to the civil justice system which seeks to save people the cost, time and stress of lengthy courtroom battles.
It will see mediation made compulsory for small claims of up to £10,000, such as disputes over goods and services. People would be referred automatically to a free hour-long telephone session with a professional mediator provided by HM Courts and Tribunals Service before their case can be progressed to a hearing.
... especially because they also say that they’re wanting to “lay the groundwork for embedding mediation as an integral step in the court process more widely across the civil justice system” ... so definitely one to keep an eye on.
My main issue with this kind of plan has always been what guarantees there will be the mediator is qualified to judge the merits of the case.
There will be many cases where one person is right and the other is trying it on. If the mediator can reliably identify this early on it might be worthwhile. Otherwise it will just encourage the party in the wrong to exaggerate the unreasonableness of their starting position, in order to anchor the middle ground further their way.