The Ministry of Justice is consulting on its proposal to automatically refer people involved in a civil dispute valued up to £10,000 for a free mediation session. This would be provided by Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) as part of the court process.
The proposals would cover all types of cases allocated to the small claims track, including personal injury and housing disrepair claims (where the threshold is lower than £10,000). The Government is consulting on whether certain case types should be exempt from the requirement to mediate.
The proposal is expected to give an additional 272,000 parties every year the opportunity to resolve their dispute consensually through mediation and avoid the time and cost of litigation. It is also expected to divert up to 20,000 cases each year from the court system, freeing up judicial resources to be used for complex cases.
Mediation is a confidential form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), in which a neutral third party assists parties to work towards a negotiated settlement of their dispute. Each party remains free to decide whether or not to settle and on what terms. For free guidance on ADR and mediation see our free download Z140
The Government’s proposal would mean that the court claim is suspended pending the mediation, which would be conducted by a court-appointed mediator.
You can find the Government Consultation here: Increasing the use of mediation in the civil justice system