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  • 8 May 2024

    Compulsory Small Claims Mediation

    The small claims Mediation Service has been available as an option since 2007 but from the 22nd May 2024 mediation will become mandatory in some money disputes up to the value of £10,000. Approximately 80% of claims in County Courts are under this threshold. 

    Claims brought on paper and through the HM Courts & Tribunals Services (HMCTS) online systems will have a free one-hour telephone mediation. The service will be extended later in the year to cover claims up to £10,000 submitted through the online Money Claims Service. 

    This will apply to all claims submitted under the standard Civil Procedure Rules Part 7; however, non-standard claims will not be included, such as possession claims. 

    The mere attendance of each party will be sufficient to meet the obligation and mediators will not be asked whether the parties had engaged in the mediation or not. 

    As mediation will now become a requirement, there will be major repercussions if a party does not attend. Sanctions will be imposed at the Judge’s discretion, which could mean the case being struck out. HMCTS will ensure that all parties have access to mediation and will ensure all reasonable adjustments are made. 

    To support the service, HMCTS have enrolled an extra 39 Mediators to deal with the increase in appointments to come. HMCTS is currently working to identify cases which may benefit from mediation and is offering appointments to all parties. The aim is to offer an appointment within 28 days of the case being referred to the mediation service, in comparison to it taking many weeks if the case was to be heard in the Court.

    Mediation will provide the possibility of settling a dispute much faster and cheaper, taking away the stress of Court proceedings. In most cases, civil litigation proves to be costly, time-consuming, and emotionally hard to deal with for the parties involved.  Mediation will allow the matter to be resolved amicably between the parties and an agreement can be reached to the satisfaction of all parties involved. This will allow the parties to be in control and to take ownership themselves. 

    Compulsory mediation will help reduce the burden on the justice system, as the backlog in the UK Courts has become an escalating concern. With mediation being one of the key tools within alternative resolution, compulsory mediation will assist in clearing the backlog. 

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