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Government support for Mediation continues

Mon, 29 November 2010

A recent press release from the Ministry of Justice noted once again the coalition Government's support for the use of mediation in resolving a wide range of disputes. The Minister stressed the importance of the work of mediators, law firms and other organisations in helping to resolve a wide range of disputes in both the commercial and family sectors.

Once again it was noted that all to often Court was seen as the first resort rather than the last, whether it was a conflict between two companies or between neighbours with a boundary dispute. The costs to participants involved in litigation was highlighted but he believed that a slow change was taking place as a result of the current financial situation. The benefits of avoiding costly  and distressing court action through Mediation was again picked out as a key element of ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution).

The Justice Minister Mr Djanogly stated that Government believes that individuals should play a greater role in resolving their disputes and not seek as a matter of first choice Court action. "The Courts should remain arbiters of the law but the intervention of the Court should only be sought when a genuine point of law exists......."

Jonathan drew the attention to a previous speech made by him in 2005 when he noted "people with disputes need to know that there are a range of services, options and sources of advice open to them, which are easily accessible and understood. But it means changing the way we do things quite considerably. It means taking responsibility for disputes instead of expecting the courts to sort it out. It means listening to the other point of view." This still remains the point today.

As to the future, Government funded family mediation is to remain but due to the 23% required savings at the Ministry of Justice  as a result of the Spending Review, tough decisions about the role of the state in helping citizens resolve their problems is to take place.

Mediation providers (such as DMC) will need to ensure that they are providing a high quality service for all and can build relationships across their communities to include schools, places of worship, advice providers, GP surgeries as well as the Courts. Jonathan added that these actions should be supported by local MP's.

The full report is available on the Ministry of Justice website





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