MEDIATION AND THE CIVIL COURTS
The UK legal system firmly encourages settlement directly between the parties or by mediation. If you decide to go to court you are expected to comply with certain rules set out by the Ministry of Justice (Civil Procedure Rules and Practice Direction on Pre-action Conduct). Within these rules the court sees the behaviour of refusing to mediate as unreasonable which can lead to the court ordering you to pay legal costs, even if the other party loses.
Years of austerity reducing funding to the court system had already resulted in delays and cancellations for would-be court cases. The COVID-19 pandemic has further disrupted the litigation procedure causing significant delays and more recently forcing all stages of litigation online. Alongside the well-documented benefits of
mediation, this situation further promotes mediation as a welcome alternative to litigation, whilst the courts system creaks under the strain. Mediation has equally been forced online during the ‘lockdown’ periods, however its high success rate means that mediation as a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is seen as a key tool for easing the burden on the courts in favour of particularly complex cases that do require a judicial resolution.
Sir Henry Brook as VP of court of Appeal in 2002 “Skilled mediators are now able to achieve results satisfactory to both parties in many cases that are beyond the power of the lawyers and courts to achieve”