This week CEDR met with Court of Appeal and High Court Judges at the Royal Courts of Justice to discuss the courts' use of mediation. As part of this session, CEDR mediators and Bill Wood QC ran a mock-mediation of a personal injury case that was referred to the Court of Appeal Mediation Scheme. This gave the judges an insight into; how the process unfolds on the day, the skills and techniques used by mediators to break deadlock and the benefits of mediation to disputing parties. The session was warmly received by the judges, with a high level of interest across the board.
We often view lawyers as the sole gatekeepers to mediation; if they are experienced and well versed in the process, they are more likely to encourage their clients to take part. This is, of course, true. But, when encouraging the uptake of mediation, they aren’t the only gatekeepers.
Judges, over the years, have accumulated a comprehensive toolkit for encouraging the use of mediation including; the CPR rules and the overriding objective, cost sanctions case law and court-based schemes such as the Court of Appeal and the Central London County Court Scheme mediation schemes, both of which CEDR administer. But, how can we further promote the use of mediation among judges?
CEDR’s Founder President, Dr Karl Mackie CBE suggested that the ADR community, is perhaps guilty of becoming complacent in maintaining an active dialogue with the judiciary. While this is done on an individual and ad hoc basis, arguably we need a more structured, regular forum for the exchange of information and ideas and for the airing of concerns and potential areas of innovation.
Such a forum previously existed and CEDR is keen to kick-start it once more. Both the judiciary and the ADR community have much to learn from one another and a stronger relationship between the two can only serve to enhance access to justice.
To learn more about the Commercial Mediation services that CEDR offers and the Court of Appeal and Central London County Court mediation schemes, contact Emma Batsa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the last 20 years the express ambition of all stakeholder has been that ADR should become integral to the Civil Justice System in England and Wales. It has not done so. ADR has had its successes undoubtedly, but they have been extremely patchy. - Civil Justice Council, ADR Working Group Interim Report (Oct, 2017)