This website uses cookies

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience. By using our website, you agree to our Privacy Policy

Faster resolution for small claims as mediation baked into courts process

Faster resolution for small claims as mediation baked into courts process


Starting May 22, 2024, parties in money claims up to £10,000 must attend free mediation sessions, aiming to resolve disputes faster and reduce court load

Implemented by HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS), this initiative targets cases involving debt recovery, parking tickets, or payment disputes like homeowners vs. builders. It's expected to free up 5,000 judicial sitting days annually for complex cases.

Justice Minister Lord Bellamy KC highlighted that embedding mediation in the courts will speed up resolutions, reduce stress, and allow judges to focus on intricate matters.

In 2022, about 85,000 small money claims were processed, with 20,000 opting for voluntary mediation, resolving over half. The integration aims to increase out-of-court settlements significantly.

HMCTS has bolstered mediators from 25 to 64, hired additional staff, and upgraded online systems for seamless service.

Akeela Amijee, HMCTS mediation manager, praised mediation's effectiveness in a neutral, non-judgmental setting. Sessions, often within 28 days, are cheaper and quicker than court.

Rebecca Clark from the Civil Mediation Council emphasised that mediation offers a consensual, quicker alternative to litigation, benefiting all parties.

Initially, the scheme applies to paper and 'legacy' system claims, with Online Civil Money Claims (OCMC) cases to follow.

James South, CEO of CEDR, welcomed the move, seeing it as a crucial step toward wider mediation integration in the justice system.

The process excludes cases with safeguarding concerns, ensuring fairness and safety.

Key points:

  • Mediation mandatory for small claims up to £10,000 starting May 22, 2024.
  • Aim: Faster resolution, reduced court load, less stress for litigants.
  • HMCTS expands mediators and enhances systems for seamless service.
  • Rebecca Clark: Mediation normalises conciliatory dispute resolution.
  • Initially affects paper and 'legacy' system claims, with OCMC cases to follow.