The UK government has announced that it is proceeding with plans to introduce compulsory mediation as a mandatory procedural step in all Small Claims in the County Court.  All parties in cases allocated to the Small Claims track (ie most claims valued below £10,000) will be required to attend a free mediation appointment with a court mediator before their case can progress to a hearing.

This is the first stage of a plan to progressively integrate a mandatory mediation step into higher value claims in the County Court: within the fast-track (£10,000-25,000) and multi-track (over £25,000).

The announcements came in the government’s published Response to the consultation process it conducted last year on “Increasing the use of mediation in the civil justice system“.  At the same time, the government announced that it has decided against introducing a centralised statutory regime to regulate the private mediation industry.

For more information see this post on our ADR Notes blog.