The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has confirmed the introduction of compulsory mediation for civil claims of up to £10,000.
Justice Minister Lord Bellamy stated that the objective of this policy is to decrease the quantity of minor civil claims proceeding through the court system, thereby allowing for more focus on larger, high-value cases with greater complexities. The expectation is also that this will create additional capacity in the courts and alleviate judges’ workloads, reducing overall court pressures.
The policy is set to be introduced first for specified money claims (which currently comprise 80% of small claims) and will eventually apply to all claims issued under part 7 of the Civil Procedure Rules.
How will the new process work for Civil Claims?
After the defence has been submitted and the case is assigned to the court’s small claims track, all parties will be notified that mediation is the subsequent step. They will complete a ‘directions questionnaire’, and then the case advances to the current small claims mediation service offered by HM Courts & Tribunals.
Each party will then participate in an individual one-hour phone consultation with the mediator at no cost. If consensus is achieved, it will be recorded by the court as a legally binding formal agreement. However, if they can’t settle, the issue will be taken to a judge. The judge has the power to enforce penalties on parties that did not adhere to the requirement for mediation.
Solicitors for Dispute Resolution
Involvement in a dispute of any kind can be highly distressing. Therefore, in all cases, it is essential to seek legal advice from a trusted and experienced legal professional as soon as an issue arises. At Langley Wellington, we support clients across Cheltenham, Gloucester and further Gloucestershire in various areas of civil litigation, including Wills and probate disputes, compensation claims and personal injury, professional negligence and family-related disputes.
This blog is not intended to be taken as advice or acted upon. If you are seeking legal advice, please get in touch with our team of solicitors.