The Civil Justice Council has published its long awaited report on mediation.
It stops short of recommending compulsory mediation but does make some sensible recommendations designed to increase mediation.
This reflects what we are seeing in practice – practitioners recognise the positive role Adr can play in resolving disputes at an early stage and allows litigants to control costs. Any further push towards an increased use of Adr is to be welcomed.
Amongst its recommendations the following are potentially the most significant:
The introduction of a Notice to Mediate procedure;
Revisiting and tightening up the common law rules (established in the case of Halsey) on unreasonable refusal to mediate;
improving Court forms;
Tackling mediation earlier in Court proceedings
Improving compliance with the ADR Regulations in consumer cases
Increasing Judicial Early neutral evaluation.
Creating a new website (“Alternatives”) and encouraging more education about ADR and creating a judicial liaison committee.