A more collaborative approach to dispute resolution
13th January 2011
As Minister for civil justice it is clear that both the public and professionals want reform to dispute resolution. We all wish to see a system that is fairer, faster and less costly to the taxpayer to run.
This will mean asking questions about the role each of us plays in taking responsibility to resolve our own problems where possible. This is where alternative dispute resolution options, like mediation, have an important place.
All too often court has been seen as the first, rather than the last, resort for dealing with disputes – whether, contractual, boundary or family issues. People can be engulfed by court actions when their disagreements might be better resolved between themselves at a much earlier stage and with a more satisfactory outcome, rather than by the “winner takes all” approach offered by litigation.
As a government, we want to encourage people in disputes to play a greater role in resolving them themselves, in both civil and family issues. For instance, in family disputes our evidence shows that mediation can be quicker, cheaper and provide less stressful outcomes (not least on children) than going to court.
To this end, more needs to be done to increase awareness of access to mediation services and their interaction with the court system. Over the coming months I shall be working with the legal profession, MP colleagues and other interested parties to pave the way for these reforms.
Jonathan Djanogly MP
11 January 2011