The Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) has just released the results of its Mediation Audit 2014, based on a survey of practising mediators as well as a survey of lawyers who use mediation.

The audit, which is run in conjunction with the Civil Mediation Council, is the sixth biennial survey CEDR has conducted in the last 12 years.  The 2014 audit received 295 eligible responses from mediators. 

While it is important to bear in mind the empirical limitations of such reviews based on responses from a sample of market participants, the audit does highlight a number of interesting trends in mediation in the UK.    CEDR’s key findings from the responses include:

  • The UK mediation market grew by an estimated 9% in the last year, based on an estimate of 9500 commercial mediations (at a value of £9billion) performed in the last 12 months. 
  • Just over 75% of cases settled on the day of mediation and another 11% shortly after (the total success rate being broadly consistent with previous years). 
  • The proportion of mediators appointed directly (rather than through ADR organisations) decreased to 66% (from 71%).  This is a reverse of the previous trend, which CEDR suggests may be partially due to more successful groupings of mediators.
  • The dominance of lawyer mediators as a proportion of total mediators has now shrunk to 52%.

 Other interesting findings include:

  • Mediators say 71% of lawyers and 62% of clients perform well at mediation (with only 14% and 15% respectively being inadequate). These figures show an improvement on previous years.
  • Lawyers also say that the majority of mediators  (82%) are performing well (with only 6% inadequate). These too are improving figures.
  • When appointing a mediator, lawyers ranked the following factors (in order of importance) from a list of 17 items:
    • availability
    • personal style
    • experience
    • background or qualifications
    • fees
  • On average there are 16 hours input from a mediator on a case, but the time is spent differently according to experience.
  • The elite group of the most experienced mediators has grown by 30%.
  • Mediators’ rates have on average decreased slightly since 2012.
  • There is a strengthening of mediators (76%) and lawyers (57%) wanting more encouragement to mediate disputes (although mandatory mediation is still unpopular – only 15% of mediators in favour).
  • Over three quarters of both mediators and lawyers say either that the Jackson reforms have had no impact upon mediation or that it is too early to tell.

Read the full Mediation Audit results here.