MOJ to mandate mediation for claims up to £10,000 in value

On 25 July 2023 the MOJ, in a press release, confirmed new reforms through which they intend to mandate mediation for small claims up to £10,000.


The MOJ is going to begin this by starting with specified money claims, which they say constitute 80% of their hearings. They have said that over 180,000 parties will be referred automatically to a free hour-long telephone session with a professional mediator provided by HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) before their case can progress to a hearing.


In order to facilitate this new mandatory mediation scheme, HMCTS is recruiting and training more mediators for their Small Claims Mediation Service


The MOJ hopes that by doing this, they will impact 92,000 cases and free up 5,000 sitting days. If true, this could be an excellent method of tackling the county court backlog. However there is a risk that this backlog will simply be shifted to the mediation service, particularly if the MOJ intends to apply this to cases currently in the system.


Whilst the MOJ seems hopeful that this will lead to long-lasting benefits to the system, we are cautious that there is currently no planned exception to this scheme. Not all cases are suitable for mediation and any party failing to participate may be subject to sanctions. A harsh punishment if the case is unsuitable in the first place.


We will keep you updated as we learn further.


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