It is quite rare for employment cases to go to mediation and by this I do not include conciliation through ACAS. As a firm, we have been involved in mediation in employment cases with varying degrees of success from pre-presentation/issue mediation and mediation after presentation/issue of a Claim but instances of mediation remain rare.
The Ministry of Justice piloted a judicial mediation service between June 2006 and March 2007 in Newcastle, Central London and Birmingham Employment Tribunals. Judges engaged in “facilitative mediation” aiming to assist the disputing parties to reach a settlement thorugh an informal process. They mediated on cases outside their own caseload and were not permitted to impose their own views on any potential agreement.
Results of the pilot scheme have revealed that the pilot cases failed to achieve the anticipated cost and time saving over unmediated cases. The study has revealed that mediation had no “discernible, statistically significant effect” on the number of cases settled within a set time period or resolved without formal hearing. In fact, it found that judicial mediation increased the net costs to the parties on average by £880 per case. However, 60% of Respondents and 39% of claimants who undertook mediation felt it was “very effective” at bringing cases closer to resolution even when they did not settle. The study has therefore not recommended that the pilot scheme be rolled out nationwide in its current form.