The Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) has released the results of its Mediation Audit 2016, based on a survey of practising mediators in the UK.   (The results of a parallel survey of lawyer attitudes to mediation are to be published separately).

The audit is the seventh biennial survey CEDR has conducted in the last 14 years (in conjunction with the Civil Mediation Council).  The 2016 audit received 319 eligible responses from mediators. 

While it is important to bear in mind the empirical limitations of such reviews based on survey responses from a sample of market participants, the audit does highlight a number of interesting trends in civil and commercial mediation in the UK.    CEDR’s key findings from the responses include:

  • the current size of the civil and commercial mediation market in England & Wales is estimated at approximately 10,000 cases per annum (5.2% more than the 9,500 cases estimated in 2014)

  • although the aggregate mediation settlement rate has remained constant (at around 86%), there is a variation from previous years’ audits in how those settlements are achieved. The proportion of cases settled on the day of mediation has fallen from 75% to 67% but the proportion of cases settling shortly after mediation has risen from 11% to 19%
  • mediator respondents showed a marked preference towards a facilitative style of mediation. However, the data suggests that they perceive (based on what is said in mediations) that the approach expected by parties and their advisers is at the more evaluative end of the scale. (The question of any correlation between mediator approach and settlement rates is to be addressed in a separate report to be published by CEDR shortly)
  • The proportion of mediators appointed directly, rather than through ADR organisations, increased to 70% (from 66%)
  • The mediaiton market is still dominated by a select few, with a group of around 145 individuals involved in around 85% of all non-scheme commercial cases (that is, an average of around 40 cases each)
  • Average fees for more experienced mediators have risen by 17.8% compared to 2014, to £4,500
  • The trend away from lawyer mediators has continued and, for the first time, less than half (43%) of the mediator respondents were legally qualified. The data suggests that this is attributable to increased engagement of other fields and there are also signs, particularly amongst more recent entrants to the field, of increased interest in mediation amongst managers and businesspeople
  • The average number of hours spent by mediators on a typical mediation has increased by over 2 hours, or 13%, since the 2014 Audit.

Read the full Mediation Audit results here.