CIVIL MEDIATION is a process where an impartial third party - mediator - helps two or more people, or groups of people, resolve a dispute.
We explain how mediation fits into the steps to resolving disputes here.
Most disputes can be resolved through mediation, and we've listed some typical examples below.
During mediation, the mediator will seek a settlement acceptable to both parties - neither party can be forced into a settlement they are uncomfortable with, unlike in litigation.
The UK courts strongly promote mediation to resolve disputes out-of-court because it offers many advantages.
When to mediate
You should remain open to mediation and "litigation should be a last resort" (Ministry of Justice)
Before you make a claim
Consider mediation if you're considering making a court claim (or taking someone to the small claims court).
The Ministry of Justice's Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) state "parties should consider whether negotiation or some other form of ADR might enable them to settle their dispute without commencing proceedings".
Before your claim proceedings begin
Even after you have issued a claim (whether to court or via Money Claim Online), you should continue to consider mediation to settle out-of-court.
Parties to a claim receive a Directions Questionnaire asking them to confirm if they will participate in mediation.
During your claim proceedings
Even after legal proceedings have started and a notice of hearing has been issued, court directions invariably invite parties to participate in mediation.
Courts can impose penalties if mediation is deemed to have been unreasonably refused.
As the MoJ states:"Litigation should be a last resort"
Mediation is much cheaper than court action and costs are known and fixed at the outset
All parties must agree to a settlement -
no outcome imposed on them
Mediation is confidential, protecting privacy, commercial information and legal rights
Mediation is usually resolved in one day, much faster than court proceedings
We put our clients at ease and avoid the intimidating formality of court
Mediation takes place at a time and place agreed by the parties, or even online
Who should use mediation?
Most civil disputes are suitable for mediation. Examples include...
Faulty or unsatisfactory goods or services
These might include disputes between consumers and retailers, utilities, builders and other service providers.
Someone owes you money and will not pay you back
This might be if you believe someone owes you money and won't pay you back, regardless of the reason.
Neighbour and boundary disputes
These might include boundary disputes, property damage claims, noise of other nuisance issues.
Disputes between landlords and tenants
These might include disputes regarding rent payments, maintenance, deposits or property damage.
Claim against warranty or insurance
This might be if you have claimed on a warranty or insurance policy and are unsatisfied with the outcome.
Inheritance and probate issues
These might include disagreements over the validity, interpretation or execution of a will.