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Credibility Issue with Mediation

Credibility Issue with Mediation

Do you agree with Lord Neuberger’s view that there is a ‘credibility issue’ with mediation in the UK?



Full Transcript

Okay, well I think for some forms of mediation there is a creditability issue especially for, if you like, especially for commercial mediation. I think people haven’t got a good answer to the question yet of saying ‘Okay here’s me and my lawyer, here’s you and your lawyer, what can a mediator add to a conversation that we could have across the table, that we otherwise wouldn’t have? So if I’m paying x pounds for a mediator for a day, what am I getting in addition to having a conversation around the table in the way of a settlement conference.’ I think people haven’t yet got a good answer for that question.


We’ve got the off-pat responses to it, but there’s not a great answer to it and I think some of the problem there is that people don’t explain well, what mediation is or what it does.


Unfortunately there is some practice in the U.K. and in other countries where mediation is only half a step away from a lawyer-led settlement conference. It’s been said many times, that there’s not much difference between what some practitioners are calling mediation, and what they would normally do in a settlement conference. Where effectively you’re evaluating a case and a claim, and a defence.


So without explaining it well, for some practitioners there isn’t a lot of difference between what they call mediation and what’s their conventional legal practice. AI think there’s a lack of theory, there’s a lack of a body of theory to explain and predict what happens in mediation. That’s most prominent in commercial.


Workplace mediation, I think, has caught on very well in this country and other countries as well. Certainly ourselves, we’ve been around 16 years and a lot of the business we get through, especially repeat business, is workplace mediation. People get it. People understand that for £1,000 there’s a good chance you’re going to preclude the formal grievance in the workplace. They get that, and the evidence and the figures are all there.


So provided if you have a competent practitioner and a good case management system and the referrer makes a contribution to making the mediation work, workplace is kind of there.

About the mediator

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Mike began his career researching the use of new technology in the workplace. At British Telecom’s research labs he worked on using voice control to work computers, and co-authored a book on the subject. He became interested in the use of computer speech technology for people with disabilities, especially looking at using technology to help speech-impaired people to communicate better. Communication then became something of a theme for Mike, wh... View Mediator