Ordering ADR – the Early Neutral Evaluation case

Introduction Earlier this year (February 2019) I gave a brief summary of themes arising out of the Final Report of the Civil Justice Council’s ADR Working Party “Alternative Dispute Resolution and Civil Justice“ (December 2018). The first topic was whether the courts should be able to order ADR/mediation as a precondition for any further step in […]

Legally Binding Agreements

Three pieces of news before autumn: heads of terms agreed at a mediation were found to constitute a legally binding contract between the parties in the Abberley case; the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) is running a ‘proof of concept’ pilot as it decides whether to introduce formal mediation as one of its routes to dispute resolution […]

Mediation – a comparative Review

The Scottish Government – Judicial Analytical Services specifically – has undertaken a Review of evidence on mediation in civil justice systems from USA and Canada to Australia via Ireland, England and Wales. The purpose was to better understand the ‘international landscape of mediation, its operation and effectiveness’. Co-incidentally or not, there is now a proposed […]

Mediation: Participation

On 4th June 2019, two important reports were launched. Margaret Doyle’s report A Place at the Table focuses on the participation of young people with SEND in the mediation process and Charlotte May’s Court of Protection: Mediation Research considers how mediation can be used for adults who lack mental capacity to make a specific decision.

‘No fault divorce’ – finally

The Government’s announcement in April 2019 of an intention to revise the 50-year-old legalities surrounding divorce proceedings has been met with a sense of cautious optimism.

Mediation – meeting sectors’ needs

In Singapore, the Singapore Mediation Centre (SMC) has dealt with over 4000 mediations since it opened in 1997 and construction disputes currently make up around 40% of the cases heard there each year. In March 2019, the Singapore Construction Mediation Centre (SCMC) was set up by the Singapore Contractors Association in response to demand from […]

Housing Disputes – a new system?

David Watkinson examines proposals to establish a Housing Complaints Resolution Service (HCRS) as put forward by the Government Introduction The recent Mediation World newsletter included an article by Bill Marsh (8/2/2019) headed “Housing dispute resolution proposals will impact developers” (and landlords as it appeared). A planning law expert was quoted as describing the proposals as […]

ADR and Civil Justice – Paving the Way?

David Watkinson looks at the Civil Justice Council’s report dated November 2018 Introduction Last December (2018) the Civil Justice Council published “ADR and Civil Justice” – the Final Report of its ADR Working Group. The 6 man (I mean that) group included 3 practising mediators, one being the Chair, and are all persons of distinction. […]

Leave the parties’ agreement in tact

Mediation, as mediators are very well aware, relies on agreement. Agreement is central to the process, from the initial agreement to mediate to, we hope, finalising the details of a Mediation Agreement. One of the powerful attractions of mediation is the parties’ control over the terms of any agreement reached, as opposed to handing control […]


Background The latest twist in the issue of cost consequences for a party which has refused a proposal to mediate a dispute has been played out in a specific ruling on costs by Mr Justice Arnold in Shakir Ali and Anr v Channel 5 Broadcast Ltd [2018] EWHC 840 on 28th April 2018.