CIArb News

UK Government responds to 2022 mediation consultation

25 Jul 2023

25 July 2023 - The UK Government has announced today a major extension to the use of mediation in civil legal claims.

“All small claims in the County Court (generally those valued under £10,000) issued under the standard Part 7 procedure of the Civil Procedure Rules…will be referred, without exception, to HM Courts and Tribunals Service's (HMCTS) Small Claims Mediation Service (SCMS) for a free one-hour telephone mediation conducted by a court-employed mediator.”

The UK Government’s policy response also signals an intention to extend the use of mediation to claims valued between £10,000 and £25,000. This will involve referring parties to external mediators outside the court service.

Catherine Dixon, Ciarb’s Director General, says, “Ciarb supports all efforts to promote and integrate mediation and dispute resolution into the justice system. While a one-hour telephone process should give all parties an important opportunity to resolve matters consensually, the limitations of the HMCTS process must be recognised. Those entering compulsory one-hour mediation through the HMCTS route should not assume this is the only form of mediation. Mediation is a flexible process which can be conducted over several hours, a full day, and sometimes over weeks or even months in highly complex or difficult situations. The flexibility of the process allows parties to develop mutually acceptable, creative solutions even in highly contentious, complex cases, both in high-value cases and non-monetary disputes. We trust, therefore, that the necessary resources will be invested to provide high-quality, accessible information and guidance to all parties. Ciarb continues to work with the Ministry of Justice and the mediation community to ensure that mechanisms introduced into the justice system support mediator professional practice and access to justice for disputing parties. Our mediators assist disputing parties by enabling them to find effective, workable outcomes in disputes of all forms.”

Implementation details and timings will be published in the following months.
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