UCL FACULTY OF LAWS

CENTRE FOR EMPIRICAL LEGAL STUDIES
 


Socio-Legal Research at UCL Laws

Welcome to the Evaluation of Automatic Referral to Mediation Website

This project is an evaluation of a policy initiative by the Department for Constitutional Affairs designed to encourage the use of mediation in the settlement of civil disputes. The experiment is taking place in the Central London County Court and is running for a year from April 2004 to March 2005. During that time a sample of court cases is being randomly selected each month and referred to mediation by the court. The evaluation of the scheme has been commissioned by the Department for Constitutional Affairs and will be carried out independently by a research team from University College London, London School of Economics and University of Nottingham Business School.

Objectives of Evaluation

  • The evaluation will assess the effective use of mediation including
    o The cases most suitable for mediation;
    o The respective roles of legal representatives and other stakeholders in determining the path cases take;
    o The factors that inhibit and promote participation in court-based mediation;
    o Whether there is a relationship between settlement rates at mediation and cost or experience of mediators.
  • The evaluation will compare the use of mediation with court hearings in relation to:
    o Use of court resources,
    o Administrative costs,
    o Time take to settle disputes and prospects of future resolution of unsettled disputes,
    o Users’ satisfaction with mediation as compared with court hearings
    o Savings in legal costs from mediation
    o Other costs to clients other than payment to others for resolving disputes

Data collection
The main sources of data collection are interviews with court staff and a mix of telephone interviews and mail questionnaires with clients, lawyers and mediators; databases and files collected and held by the court; mediation reports from mediators.

The Research Team
The research team comprises the following individuals:

  • Hazel Genn, Professor of Socio-Legal Studies in the Faculty of Laws at University College London.
  • Gwyn Bevan, Professor of Management Science in the Department of Operational Research at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
  • Paul Fenn, Norwich Union Professor of Insurance Studies in the University of Nottingham Business School.
  • Dr Alec Morton, Lecturer in Operational Research in the Department of Operational Research at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
  • Marc Mason, Research Fellow in the Faculty of Laws at University College London.
For queries or further information about the project please contact Marc Mason at UCL
m.mason@ucl.ac.uk or 0207 0605297.


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