Mediation: a review of the research evidence

For those interested in the mediation debate it is worth being reminded of a recent review of the evidence by Robert Dingwall (an eminent sociologist). The abstract will give readers a flavour before they decide whether they would like to go further (the full piece is available here):

On 20 January 2010, the UK Ministry of Justice (MoJ) published an announcement of a ‘fundamental review of the family justice system’ in England and Wales – Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own, independent systems under their devolved governments. Even the most casual reading of this brief document reminds those of us who work from time to time in the field of family law and policy why we sometimes wonder what the point of our efforts might be. It repeats the familiar mantras about the complex and adversarial nature of the legal system in dealing with family breakdown, about the virtues of mediation and about the desirability of compelling all system users through a portal controlled by mediators before they encounter the legal system. Once again, the politics of divorce in the UK have led policy-makers into an inappropriate and retrograde approach that ignores the lack of evidence that lawyers and courts do indeed promote conflict, the lack of evidence for mediation’s effectiveness or for any significant level of unmet consumer demand for its services and of the growing retreat from mandatory mediation in other common law jurisdictions. As is increasingly typical in UK political life, consumers are only to be sovereign if they make the choices that government requires them to make

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About Richard Moorhead

Director of the Centre for Ethics and Law and Professor of Law and Professional Ethics at the Faculty of Laws, University College London with an interest in teaching and research on the legal ethics, the professions, legal aid, access to justice and the courts.
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2 Responses to Mediation: a review of the research evidence

  1. Yes will have a read, because on first glance, just because no or limited research into mediation hass been carried out does not mean it is useless or pointless. It has great benefits and thats why it’s been going for 50 years and will continue to grow to the extent that everyone should give mediation a try rather than fighting it out in court.

  2. Michael Robinson says:

    This research shows that Mediation has it’s place in the system. The problem is that the Government has fallen for the lie perpetuated by mediators that mediation is better than litigation, cheaper and quicker. There is no evidence to support that view. Other jurisdictions are moving forward. This Government is about to force people into a process that has no benefits. Mediation as part of the adversarial system might help in some cases.

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