Many industries, including the legal industry, have been forced into embracing novel working practices as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mediation has also had to adapt, primarily through the significant growth of online mediation. This article is the second in a series looking at the mediation process and focuses on mediation during the era of COVID-19. Our previous article provided an overview of the mediation process and the recent CEDR (Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution) Audit.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Mediation
The key areas of impact of COVID-19 upon the mediation process, as identified in the CEDR Audit are:
- In the 12-month period prior to the pandemic, 10% of all commercial mediations were being conducted online.
- In the 6-month period from March to September 2020, the number of commercial mediations fell by 35% but 89% of those were conducted online.
- Prior to March 2020, only 26% of mediators reported any online work. However, the first 6 months of the pandemic saw 71% of mediators switching their practice to online.
The positives of online mediation identified included:
- “Ease of access”
- Avoidance of travel
- Feeling more relaxed in their own space.
However, the Audit also highlighted that there were downsides to online mediation including technological issues and being less effective for building a rapport with those involved.
The CEDR Audit also states that over three quarters of mediators in 2021 are expecting to be undertaking more online rather than traditional face-to-face mediations.
It will certainly be interesting to see whether online mediation remains as a prominent option upon the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and if so, how that will impact upon the effectiveness of mediation generally, as a result of the practical differences as outlined above.
For more information or advice on this or any other commercial dispute, please contact Gordon Monaghan or Harry Georgiou directly. Alternativly you can call us on 0115 9 100 200 or click here to send an email.
Posted on June 15, 2021