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Mediation recommended by latest official review

Sun, 21 February 2010

Lord Justice Sir Rupert Jackson's 584 page report which was published on the 14th January 2010 highlights the need to significantly improve the awareness within the legal fraternity and public as a whole to the advantages of ADR techniques. He calls for much greater education of the general public, court users, lawyers, businesses, and Judges of the benefits of mediation.

In their reply, The Civil Mediation Council (CMC) welcomes the report and highlights the potential significant opportunities for civil mediation.  They state 'the report has identified important weaknesses in the existing structures and systems for litigation which gives rise to disproportionate and perhaps unnecessary costs'.

His report finds that Alternative Dispute Resolution (particularly mediation) has a vital role to play in reducing the costs of civil disputes, by fomenting the early settlement of cases. However, it identifies that ADR is under-used and that its potential benefits are not as widely known as they should be. His recommendations set out to resolve these issues by

  1. encouraging an serious campaign to inform litigation lawyers and judges on ADR processes and its benefits; &
  2. heightened public and small business awareness of the benefits of ADR and through the issue of an authoritative handbook for ADR, showing how the process works and listing reputable service providers.

Sir Rupert's report finds that mediation as the principal method of ADR should be at the heart of every litigator's toolkit. However, it found that ADR should not be made compulsory, nor should parties automatically be subject to sanctions if they decline to mediate. His belief is that Mediation should be more widely attempted pre-litigation.

His review of the civil litigation costs included in its recommendations the need for a neutrally published handbook of ADR and mediation  which would give information on reputable providers, processes and procedures, and which should be available to all.

The report welcomes the work of the National Mediation Helpline and the growth of mediation particularly in the last 2 years, whilst recognising that costs still remain an issue in some cases. Sir Rupert encourages greater use of early Neutral Evaluation (ENE), telephone mediation and the use of specialist professionals (such as surveyors).

For full report use the DMC link The Review of Civil Litigation Costs



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