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Resolving Disputes Through Mediation – Does it Work?

The Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution has recently published the Ninth Mediation Audit.

The Audit presents findings based upon civil and commercial mediators’ views and experience of the mediation market, as well as lawyer attitudes.

This article is the first of a series on the mediation process and this article will focus on the effectiveness of mediation.

The CEDR Audit will be referred to in this article, as well as in the other articles within this series.


What is Mediation?

Mediation is a voluntary and confidential form of alternative dispute resolution, in which parties in dispute, assisted by a neutral third party i.e. a mediator, seek to negotiate and settle disputes.

The mediator will not act as a judge but will aim to facilitate an agreement between the parties. Offers can be made at mediation which are “without prejudice”.

This allows for the parties involved to seek to settle the dispute without their position being compromised if court proceedings are ongoing and the dispute eventually ends up at a court trial.

If a settlement is agreed upon at mediation, the parties will usually sign a settlement agreement or a consent order if court proceedings have already commenced.


How Successful is Mediation?

Some of the most notable findings in the latest CEDR Audit are set out below:

  • It is estimated that the size of the civil and commercial mediation market in England & Wales, for the year to 31 March 2020, was 16,500 cases per year. The figure is 38% higher than the number of cases as estimated by the CEDR in 2018.
  • The overall success rate of mediation remains very high, with an aggregate settlement rate of 93%. This is a slight increase in comparison to the overall success rate in 2018, which was 89%.
  • There was a slight decrease in the percentage of cases that settled on the day of mediation in 2020 (72%), in comparison to 74% in 2018. There was however a significant increase in the percentage of cases that settled shortly after mediation day in 2020 (21%), in comparison to 15% in 2018.
  • The average number of hours spent on a typical mediation in 2020 was 14.6, which has decreased by nearly 2 hours in comparison to 2018 (16.3). Interestingly, the average number of hours spent on a typical mediation in 2016 was 18.6.


In our next article, we will consider the implications of COVID-19 upon the mediation process. However, it is clear that up until 2020, the mediation market has shown trends of growth and the likelihood of settlement has increased.

It is also notable that the mediation process, whilst becoming more successful, has also become more efficient with time spent. In this regard, mediation increasingly offers an effective and efficient method of settling disputes and should be considered at various stages of disputes and litigation.

For more information or advice on this or any other commercial dispute, please contact Gordon Monaghan directly. Alternativly you can call us on 0115 9 100 200 or click here to send an email

Posted on May 12, 2021

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