Civil Mediation

Where an impartial mediator helps resolve a dispute

between two or more people or groups of people

CIVIL MEDIATION is a process where an impartial third party - mediator - helps two or more people, or groups of people, resolve a dispute. 

The UK courts strongly promote mediation to resolve disputes out-of-court because it offers many advantages. 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.

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"

Why mediate?



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

Less stress

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...

These 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.

These might include boundary disputes, property damage claims, noise of other nuisance issues. See more here.

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.

How mediation works


Your mediation will be tailored but a typical mediation might proceed as below

  • 1. Preparation

    Your mediator will gather the key facts and views from all parties.

    Each party will prepare a Position Statement to summarise their position.

    The mediator will prepare all participants for the mediation.

  • 2. Opening

    Your mediator will welcome everyone and explain the process and ground rules.


    All parties will be given the chance to explain the dispute from their point of view. 


    This will usually be in an initial joint (known as a Plenary) session but this is not compulsory.

  • 3. Negotiation

    The parties then settle in and get a chance to talk with the mediator in private (Caucuses). 


    The mediator will begin to explore potential solutions; passing messages and offers between parties to move forward towards settlement.

  • 4. Settlement

    Once an agreement is found that everyone is satisfied with, the mediator will document it. 


    Once the Settlement Agreement is signed it will become binding. 


    Until signed, parties may leave at any time - no party can be forced into a solution they're unhappy with.

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