After the consultation, the substance of the Jackson Reforms has finally started coming into effect. Since April of this year, changes to the Civil Procedure rules with regard to case funding mean that now more than ever, issues such as proportionality of costs and settlement offers carry real consequence for any legal counsel thinking of taking a dispute to court. The increased focus on the cost of justice has also, necessarily, revived interest in alternative dispute resolution practices such as mediation and arbitration, and in particular how current practice is evolving to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse client base.

This year CEDR undertook a survey of 50 legal specialists responsible for dispute resolution within companies, and while this is not a fully statistically significant sample is does provide us with useful information and insight into how mediation is currently being used in-house. The clear message is that organisations are happy to use mediation and other forms of ADR. However, the practicalities of usage are currently in a state of change. Historically, organisations would rely almost exclusively on external counsel as the ‘gatekeepers’ to mediation as a means of resolving a dispute, but this appears no longer to be the case. Increasingly, corporate counsel are choosing to approach mediation bodies themselves without external assistance – for simple disputes at least.

Jul-Sep 2013 issue

Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR)