An analysis of local solicitors’ attitudes to and use of mediation

Waters, B. and Howland, A. (2014) An analysis of local solicitors’ attitudes to and use of mediation. Research Report. (Unpublished)

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Legal practitioners are considered to be the “gate-keepers” for a significant proportion of the mediation work currently being undertaken in the UK. This small-scale study undertaken in Canterbury explores the attitudes of local legal practitioners to mediation and as its use as a process for resolving disputes.

The study provides an initial review of current research in the field of civil mediation in the UK, which whilst limited and now a little dated, reveals some practitioner ambivalence towards mediation and potentially provides some key themes regarding legal practitioners’ uncertainty about the use of mediation. This could arguably go some way to explain why mediation is not more widely used for a range of dispute categories.

The data collected from local legal service providers who practice in the areas of family law, civil and commercial law and employment law, reveal some key themes. The then study draws a range of conclusions, both positive and negative regarding the use of mediation in the area of family law practice and the attitudes of law firms are highlighted and contrasted with those of individual solicitors.

The responses from the participants associated with civil and commercial practice areas tended to be more positive, particularly with regard to the idea of introducing a more compulsory element to the use of mediation, whilst the responses from those practitioners in the area of employment law seemed to suggest a lack of use and understating of the process.

The study concludes with the view that the findings from local practitioners appear to reinforce the research undertaken by Professor Dame Hazel Genn in a study she undertook some seven years ago, and do indicate that the attitudes of legal service providers towards mediation are still mixed. This may serve to explain (at least in part) why mediation remains significantly under-used and the changes introduced by the government to encourage the use of mediation have so far not been received that favourably by all legal practitioners.

Item Type: Report (Research Report)
Subjects: K Law
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Law, Criminal Justice and Computing > Mediation Clinic
Depositing User: Mr Ben Waters
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2018 14:00
Last Modified: 12 Apr 2018 14:00

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00