“What I have found profoundly unsatisfactory…is that the parties have spent in the region of £100,000 arguing over a claim which is worth about £6,000…mediation is a perfectly proper adjunct to litigation…the results are astonishingly good. Try it more often” per Lord Justice Ward Egan v Motor Services (Bath) Ltd  1 WLR 1589 para 53
There are many benefits to mediation, some are more relevant to certain disputes than others, though all disputes share the main benefits listed below.
A few of the key benefits of Mediation relate to Time, Cost, Control, Outcome, Confidentiality and Relationships
A quick comparison*
|Cost||Up to £750 + VAT (per party)||£4,095|
|Time||Book at any stage||In excess of 6 months to trial|
|Confidentiality||Completely Confidential||Generally, not confidential|
|Control||Parties retain control||Judge and Court control|
|Relationship||Easier to maintain relationship||Relationship’s often damaged after court|
|Outcome||Anything parties want (that is legal)||Very small range of outcomes|
* This is a simplified example based upon a £20,000 dispute and a ½ day trial, 6 witnesses in total including claimant and defendant, no expert evidence required. Barrister fee for ½ day (including written advice before trial) £1,200; Solicitor fees £1,350; Issue Fee: £1,000; Hearing Fee: £545. Whilst each party is liable for their own cost in the mediation (max £750 + VAT each) the losing party in litigation may have to pay the costs of the winner. Ie if the claimant is suing for £20,000 and loses at trial he or she may end up adding £8,000 of legal fees to their £20,000 loss.
Risk of refusing to mediate
The courts will not force parties to mediate, though they strongly encourage it in order to keep everybody’s costs to a minimum. Parties are, however, required by the Civil Procedure Rules to consider Alternative Dispute Resolution. Where parties unreasonably refuse to engage in mediation the court often penalises that party in costs. This can be very significant – even the winning party can be penalised in costs if he or she failed to mediate without reasonable excuse. For more information on the court’s approach to failure to mediate click here.