The UK coalition government has publicly committed to a greater use of mediation and other forms of ADR in the civil justice system (see the Ministry of Justice website for more details). As a first step the government has announced its intention to consult on the role of ADR with a view to developing proposals as to its wider use in the civil courts. We await the results of any consultation, but at this stage we expect that one outcome is likely to be a greater use of court-annexed mediation schemes. The government is also expected to strengthen its 2001 ADR Pledge to resolve public sector disputes by way of ADR as far as possible.

It remains to be seen whether the UK's devolved assemblies follow the UK Government's lead in committing to ADR. As highlighted in a recent paper, the Scottish Mediation Network considers that the UK government has saved £36 million through the adoption of the ADR Pledge and suggests that Scottish taxpayers could be saved £40 million over four years if the Scottish parliament voted to adopt a similar pledge.