Mandatory Mediation in England and Wales

Much Ado about Nothing?


  • Bryan Clark



This article is concerned with the thorny issue of mandatory mediation. In so doing, the piece charts the development of court-linked mediation in England and Wales from the days of the Woolf reforms and examines the growing clamour from judges, policymakers, commentators and, more recently, mediators for a shift from a mere cajoling of parties to mediate to outright compulsion. The article examines recent proposals for the introduction of mandatory mediation in English civil justice and sets out the view that, while mandatory mediation is inevitable and not per se objectionable on legal or policy grounds, care must be taken to ensure that it is implemented in such a way as to balance up different important policy drivers including efficiency, preserving the qualitative goals of mediation and filling the ‘justice gap’ that mediating in the shadow of the court can leave.

Keywords: mediation; mandatory mediation; access to justice; court-based mediation; mediation policy; litigants in person.


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Special Section: ADR Issues and Development (Part 1)