ADR Minister, Jonathan Djanogly MP
At the 2011 Civil Mediation Council Conference

Lowry Hotel, Manchester, 10 May 2011

Thank you for this opportunity to join you all here at the Lowry. I am pleased to be addressing this particular audience, because – as you will shortly hear – mediation plays a critical part in my plans for the future civil justice system. This is something which I am sure you will support – indeed, I will need your support in taking these ideas forward.

But first, I would like to pay tribute to the work of the Civil Mediation Council. Not just in promoting mediation, but also contributing to embed good practice amongst mediation providers and mediators. As a result, you are ensuring that the public have a greater confidence in the service provided. As we move forward on the proposals that I will be outlining today, we will more than ever, need the CMC’s help in creating a skilled profession, and your help in establishing a system better suited to resolving the conflicts and problems that ordinary people face.

The CMC has become the main voice and platform for mediation providers in the country. I applaud the efforts of the Board in particular for the work they have done in setting an accreditation benchmark for mediation providers. This is important. It gives judges, courts and the public the necessary quality assurance when referring parties to mediation. Similarly, I recognise the work that the CMC has done with the Department for Business Innovation and Skills in developing a registration scheme for workplace mediators. This gives me confidence that mediation is in the right hands, and that we have a large corps of mediators ready and able to take mediation to the next level.

I have long been a believer in mediation. Put simply, it makes sense. Why get involved in an expensive, long-winded and often stressful litigious process, and have your dispute decided by someone else, when you could remain in control and shape the outcome through mediation?

For far too long, access to justice has been equated with “having one’s day in court”. Of course court is the right course of action – in some cases. However, for the vast majority of people that currently use our courts, it is much more about sensible resolution of disputes. We do not want people making a knee-jerk reaction by resorting to the law for issues that are often non-legal in nature.

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The Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) is an independent, non-profit organisation with a mission to cut the cost of conflict and create choice and capability in dispute prevention and resolution.