On the 25th July 2023, the Ministry of Justice UK introduced new reforms to free up court capacity. Following consultation launched last year, mediation is now fully integrated into claims valued up to £10,000 and parties could face costs sanctions or a strike-out of their claim if they fail to engage in this process.
But, in my opinion, this is just the start of the mediation integration into the Civil Procedure Rules.
Practitioners in dispute resolution will be aware that the Master of the Rolls has already supported dropping the word “alternative” from “alternative dispute resolution”.
In the Guide to Civil Justice Statistics Quarterly (published 2nd March 2023), it was reported that the civil law courts are still facing challenges brought about by the Covid pandemic. With this in mind, it is little surprise that yesterday’s announcement saw the government going much further than the Civil Justice Council recommendations in January 2021 that mediation be made a requirement for cases up to the value of £500.
All this is in the context where three leading mediation organisations – the Civil Mediation Council, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb), and the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) – are reported to be submitting written interventions in a forthcoming appeal case which could prove to be pivotal in determining the status of mediation in resolving civil disputes.
Watch this space for more integration of mediation into the civil justice procedure, and more news of the Hedges Law civil and commercial mediation service.