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Raising awareness of the benefits of mediation

Developing student lawyers’ negotiating skills as well as their advocacy skills is essential to encourage out-of-court solutions where appropriate, says Catherine Shephard

14 September 2017

The heartbreaking case of Charlie Gard saw Mr Justice Francis conclude his judgment with a plea for more use of mediation. Mr Justice Cooke, granting Peter Hook permission to continue his derivative action against his New Order ex-bandmates, nevertheless urged the parties to enter into negotiations rather than proceed to trial.

Of course, the right of access to courts is “an absolutely fundamental ingredient of the rule of law”, as Lord Neuberger has highlighted, and he has made clear his view that mediation “must not be invoked and promoted as if it was always an improved substitute for litigation”. However, he also observes that “ordinary people, average citizens, and ordinary businesses” would likely experience problems obtaining access to justice, and mediation might be particularly suitable for their legal disputes.

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