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Donna Goddard

Debt recovery

With effect from 22nd May 2024, cases for money claims up to the value of £10,000 in the small claims track are going to be automatically referred to mediation under a new Mediation Pilot Scheme.


The Mediation Pilot

Before, mediation was only a suggested option for parties involved in a dispute, but it is now mandatory under this Pilot which is currently to run between 22nd May 2024 to 21st May 2026.

Whilst it is not expected that every case will be resolved in this way, by embedding mediation into the court’s process HM Courts & Tribunal Service (HMCTS) anticipate that more cases will be settled and will improve the experience for those embroiled in a dispute, whilst also freeing up time for Judges to focus on the most complex cases. To support this requirement, HMCTS has more than doubled the number of mediators employed from 25 to 64 with extra administration staff also being recruited, and online systems improved. 


Benefits of mediation

From our extensive experience, mediation has proved successful for a number of our clients and is quicker and less stressful for parties than proceeding all the way through to final hearings.

Going to court can be intimidating or distressing, not to mention the time-consuming and expensive. Mediation works because it allows people to be heard and get everything off their chest in a calm, non-judgemental environment.  It is neutral and seeks to remove the hostility between parties, which can lead to a more conducive environment to settle.

Mediation sessions are generally organised within 28 days from when a claim is allocated to a particular ‘track’, which is often much quicker than the wait for a court date. It is also a cheaper alternative to court as there is no hearing fee to pay.


How does mediation work?

The mediator is a court employee who is trained in mediation skills. They act as a middle person to see if terms of settlement can be reached and so will focus on striking a deal, rather than getting into the detail or trying to decide who is right or wrong.

During mediation, HMCTS mediators speak to each side separately and work between the two to find a solution each side can agree on.  If terms of settlement are reached, the mediator will record the terms of settlement and draw up a Mediation Settlement Agreement between the parties and notify the court accordingly.  If the parties do not agree on a resolution at mediation, the case will progress to a hearing before a judge in the normal way.    

If a party does not attend the required mediation appointment without good reason, the judge may apply a sanction at the final hearing. This could include a fine, covering the costs of the wasted mediation appointment or, in extreme circumstances, having their claim or defence dismissed. 

All mediations take place over the telephone and are likely to be limited to no more than one hour.


Need help with a debt claim?

Our specialised Debt Recovery team are here to assist you with your collections or, advice. Our team offer an efficient and cost-effective debt recovery service on standard fixed charges. Please contact our Head of Debt Recovery, Donna Goddard on 0118 9527173 or, [email protected] to discuss your needs. 

Get in touch

If you have any questions relating to this article or have any legal disputes you would like to discuss, please contact the Debt Recovery team.

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