Moving on from a judicial preference for mediation to embed appropriate dispute resolution
Keywords:civil justice system, dispute resolution, alternative dispute resolution, mediation, online court, litigants in person, reform
This paper critically considers judicial approaches to and promotion of mediation within the English civil justice system. It argues that the overzealous judicial emphasis on mediation in the ADR jurisprudence has restricted the wider concepts of ADR and ‘dispute resolution’ which in turn has created what the author terms ‘judicial mediation bias’. The paper critically explores these issues through an analysis of the ADR jurisprudence, with a focus on key Court of Appeal ADR authorities, and successive civil justice reforms. The paper makes proposals for reform, including the potential use of stages one and two of Lord Justice Briggs’ online court to promote a greater application of a variety of ADR procedures, in particular, judicial early neutral evaluation and collaborative dispute resolution.