The Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) has released the results of its latest Mediation Audit, the first since the start of the pandemic.

For the past 20 years, CEDR’s biennial surveys of mediators have provided a snapshot of civil and commercial mediation in the UK, identifying key trends and developments.  The latest survey received 328 responses, representing approximately 50% of the individual mediator membership of the Civil Mediation Council.  (The report also includes for comparison some results of a parallel survey of lawyer attitudes to mediation).

Interesting findings in the report include:

  • The civil and commercial mediation market has fully recovered from its pandemic slump, at approximately 17,000 cases for the year to 30 September 2022 (3% up on pre-pandemic levels).
  • Of those 17,000 mediations, 64% were conducted online – confirming that remote mediation has become a permanent fixture of the landscape.
  • Reported settlement rates remain high and consistent with the last audit, at a 92% success rate (73% on the day and 20% in the period shortly after).
  • Interestingly, as we still await a decision on whether the UK will join the Singapore Convention for the enforcement of mediated settlements, 93% of the mediators said they had never or rarely encountered any issues around enforcement of mediated settlements. The lawyer survey reported similar results, with over 60% never having encountered such issues and the remainder only occasionally.
  • Looking forward, the audit concludes that the civil and commercial mediation market has very substantial excess capacity, and would be well placed to handle a significant expansion in case volumes if the Ministry of Justice proceeds with its vision of introducing mandatory mediation for all contested claims in the County Courts, using the private mediation sector (ie beyond its recently announced plans to introduce it for County Court Small Claims, using HMCTS mediators).

The report also provides CEDR’s updated assessment of the overall economic impact of the commercial mediation field, based on both the survey results and operational statistics from CEDR’s own caseload. Its updated assessment includes that:

  • The total value of cases mediated each year is approximately £20 billion (after excluding ‘mega-cases’)
  • Mediation has saved business around £5.9 billion in wasted management time, legal fees, lost productivity and damaged relationships per year
Jan O'Neill
Jan O'Neill
Professional Support Lawyer, London
+44 20 7466 2202