A new study, from Singapore Management University, claims to have identified some crucial factors that influence the likelihood of a case being settled through mediation.
Based on their analysis of the electronic records of civil cases in Singapore, as well as survey data collected by the Singapore Mediation Centre, the researchers found that factors which affect the success of mediation include:
- the level of contentiousness between the disputants, with cases showing a higher level of contested pre-trial applications being less likely to settle; and
- the stage of litigation, with cases referred to mediation at an earlier stage more likely to be settled than cases that had already advanced to the interlocutory or pre-trial stage
From a practising mediator's perspective, these findings are hardly surprising as we are all familiar with the principle that hostility and sunk costs escalate the longer a dispute goes on.
On the other hand, it is very encouraging to see the debate about a case suitability for mediation moving on, with an increasing focus on "when" rather when "whether".
Which makes a lot of sense given that, as the recently published 2018 CEDR Mediation Audit reports, the success rate of the process is already very high, with 74% of cases achieving settlement on the day of mediation and a further 15% settling shortly thereafter.
And even this statistic ignores the fact that even a mediation which does not achieve full settlement nearly always adds value by clarifying the issues between the parties.
To see the results of the latest CEDR Mediation Audit and other CEDR research publications, go to https://www.cedr.com/foundation/research/
Graham Massie is a member of CEDR Chambers, a panel of highly experienced mediators with proven excellence in providing mediation, training and consultancy services to clients.
To book Graham as a mediator, contact the CEDR Commercial Team at email@example.com or call 020 7536 6060.
Courts should consider the timing of referral, the stage of litigation and the level of contentiousness between disputants when deciding whether or not to refer civil disputes to mediation.