The Rise and Rise of Mediation
Earlier this month, the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) published its eighth mediation audit. This audit measures the attitudes and experiences of civil and commercial mediators in the UK and is undertaken by way of an online questionnaire.
Below are some of the key results from the audit:
1. Approximately 12,000 cases now attend mediation – a 20% uplift since 2016
2. The success rate for mediation cases remains high at 89%, with 74% achieving settlement on the day
3. Lawyers confirmed 45% of all cases settle through mediation and an additional 24% through negotiation before the claim is issued
4. Only 4% of cases now settle at trial
5. Inheritance, wills and trusts disputes are now regarded as key growth areas utilising mediation services
The results of this audit came as no surprise to me. In the last five years, none of the cases I have handled have ended up at a final hearing. This is a fact I take great pride in as it demonstrates that I have been able to find an effective solution to all disputes while avoiding the additional costs associated with litigation proceedings.
I am a strong advocate of the benefits of mediation. Even where parties are seemingly at totally opposing views, they can still reach an acceptable solution to try and bring the dispute to an earlier resolution.
If cases go to trial, you are often leaving the decision in the hands of a judge. Although they are obviously very knowledgeable and experienced, they can be restricted in the remedies that can be granted. Attending mediation can allow the parties, with their lawyers, to think of creative solutions (that may not be available to a judge) which can provide the resolution that everyone is looking for.
Attending mediation should not be seen as ‘giving up’ or ‘admitting fault’. Mediation is completely off the record, allowing frank and open discussions to take place without risk of repercussion. It, therefore, provides the ideal platform for clients to say what they feel and share their views much more openly and effectively. They often walk away from the mediation with a sense of accomplishment and that they have received some form of closure in regards to the issue.
Given that the courts now have strong cost sanctions in place for parties who unreasonably fail to attend mediation, or those who ignore an invitation to mediate (whether they ultimately win or lose), mediation should be at the forefront of everyone’s minds when a dispute arises.
I am a contentious probate specialist who is a skilled and proven negotiator. I am a strong advocate for parties to attend mediation when it is appropriate to do so. If you have a query relating to wills, trusts or inheritance disputes, please contact me on 01752 513 585 or anna.wonnacott@GAsolicitors.com