The Mediation Times


The UK Mediation Market – Civil and Commercial Mediations double in 2 years

by Amanda on May 16, 2010

The Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) has just published it’s 4th mediation audit for the UK market.

The audit confirms the trend I had sensed nearly two years ago that mediation users are increasingly appointing individual mediators directly rather than using the services of mediation providers and panels. The report says

For individual cases, we can see a continuation of the long-term trend towards clients making direct referrals to mediators rather than working through service organisations.
Nearly 65% of ad hoc cases are now being handled on this basis (as compared to 60% in 2007, 55% in 2005 and 45% in 2003).  As might be expected, direct referral activity is particularly prevalent amongst the most experienced mediator group, nearly two-thirds of whom obtained more than half of their work from direct referrals, with around 40% exceeding 80% direct referrals, and 22% claiming to be totally free of providers.

The projected size of the current civil and commercial mediation market is estimated to be around 6000 cases per annum, split 60/40 between ad hoc referrals and schemes respectively. This represents a doubling of the market over the last two years. Excluding schemes, CEDR says that mainstream and ad hoc commercial casework has risen about 30% since 2007.

The make up of the market which is still “dominated by a select few”.

A group of around 90 individuals are involved in around 85% of all non-scheme commercial cases  (2007 – 80 individuals held 80%); and within this group, some 50 individuals are involved in 70%  of all cases (2007 – 35 individuals held 57%).

The Fourth Mediation Audit

Mediation Business in the UK - Published 11 May 2010

And the profile of mediators which shows an extraordinary lack of diversity.

In terms of overall diversity, the mediator group still falls well short of our usual comparator, the legal profession, where 45% of practising solicitors are women with an average age of 38, compared 44 for men, and almost 11% are drawn from ethnic minority groups.  In contrast, we have only 19% female and 5% minority representation notwithstanding that the field continues to be dominated by the legal profession, with 60%
being legally qualified, slightly up from the 57% reported in our last Audit.

As far as the success of mediation as a service the figures are encouraging:

Mediators report that around 75% of their cases settled on the day, with another 14% settling shortly thereafter so as to give an aggregate settlement rate of 89%.  This is almost identical to the performance reported in the 2007 Audit, but slightly lower than the aggregate 93% rate reported in the 2005 Audit (although we noted at the time that that figure seemed surprisingly high).

An important part of the survey addresses the issues of mediator aspirations and this deserves attention. The obstacles to developing a successful practice were cited as:

A rather smaller proportion saw the challenge in more personal terms, namely their own difficulty in obtaining sufficient mediation referrals from which to grow a reputation and, hence, a successful practice.  Some recognised a need for more pro active marketing on their part to raise their profile, but others admitted an aversion to what they regarded as self-promotion.

These mediators will be pleased to hear that help is at hand in the shape of The Mediation Business Summit specifically designed to give mediators seeking to develop a healthy practice the tools and tips they need.

Tammy Lenski and I have joined forces to bring together a superb line up of speakers to deal with issues such as promotion and marketing in a sector which has always been challenged in these activities.


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