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Kenneth Clarke - 'Mediation a very good idea'

Fri, 29 October 2010

Short extract from BBC - Law in Action - An interview with the Lord Chancellor & Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke 1st broadcast BBC R4 26 October 2010

Presenter: Joshua Rozenberg
Producer: Simon Coates

For full version see http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/radio4/law-in-action/20101028-law-in-action.pdf (17:07)

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CLARKE: Well, I won’t be drawn on the details. But I think we do have a very litigious society and it’s not necessarily part of our system that the taxpayer should enable people to choose a legal route to pursuing a dispute without having to pay for it themselves.

ROZENBERG: So you’re encouraging people towards something like mediation, for example?

CLARKE: I think mediation’s a very good idea. I’m not naïve about mediation, but there are very strong advocates of mediation. The confrontation of adversarial litigation isn’t always the best way of dealing with the disputes that follow a matrimonial break-up or arguments over children. I think sometimes it can be positively destructive as former partners, former spouses decide to take revenge on each other with thousands of pounds worth of litigation and repeated hearings about access to the children or whatever. Now some of those may have to be resolved that way, but I think it’s not only the expense; actually the method is questionable in some cases.

ROZENBERG: So no legal aid for matrimonial work? No…

CLARKE: (over) I didn’t say that!.

ROZENBERG: No court work? You want to take matrimonial disputes out of the courts and put them into mediators?

CLARKE: I want to leave myself free to produce a consultation paper, Joshua! I said what I said! But I gave that as an example where my personal view is I have encountered cases where talking to one or other of the parties, it is quite obvious that repeated litigation has made the problem worse and has not made it better. Sometimes what they’re litigating is something which can’t be resolved by a judicial process. Some other method is required.

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