News that Anna Beasley, Director General of Finance for the Ministry of Justice, has plans to cut budgets by £2billion threatens to reduce the efficiencies of the Court system through reduced staffing and other costs savings. According to a Nottingham lawyer, Chris Adams, the news might lead to considerable problems in the administration of justice as the Government attempts to tackle the budget deficit. As a result, he says, more businesses could turn to mediation as the preferred route to resolving disputes.
Chris Adams, head of mediation services and a director of East Midlands law firm Nelsons, comments: "Individuals and businesses alike are already wary about the cost, delay and uncertainty of litigation and the latest news, which comes on top of Court closures and other efficiencies introduced in recent years, will only heighten their fears. However, asking a Court to deliver a Judgement is not the only solution available to those who find themselves caught up in a dispute. Mediation could be the answer."
A qualified Mediator, Chris says that while litigation is very much a ‘winner takes all’ solution, and is therefore often likened to an old fashioned dual, the mediation process is a facilitated negotiation in which a trained Mediator helps parties to find solutions to their dispute often identifying creative ways to resolve conflict. He continues: "In most cases the Mediator will identify a solution which makes more sense to the parties than continuing with their dispute.
"In the commercial arena, disputes can be very damaging to ongoing relationships and yet through mediation it is often possible to preserve commercial relationships and for parties to maintain their business connection once the matter has been concluded.
"The process is entirely private and confidential and allows parties to control their own outcomes, rather than asking a Court to impose a Judgment on the parties, which will leave at least one of them very dissatisfied."
The use of mediation has gathered pace since it first got a foothold on the dispute resolution landscape in the late 1980s, and with the assistance of encouragement from the Courts, more cases than ever before are now being mediated. Chris believes that the possibility of increased delay and uncertainty in the Court system will only encourage more people to find their own private solutions to disputes and that this will inevitably lead more people to mediation. In his view, this can only be a good thing.