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www.ukmediationjournal.com


U K


MEDIATION JOURNAL


Putting Mediation to Work


A common and recurring topic of debate


amongst


mediators of whatever specialisation and background is how mediation could, and


indeed should, be better promoted, understood – and used. The launch of the UK Mediation Journal comes at an opportune moment as business leaders address the serious challenge of competing successfully in the market place and, guided by their HR professionals, in-house counsel, and external advisers amongst others, increasingly recognise the negative, costly and time-consuming effect of conflict in the workplace or of a damaging commercial dispute externally. Any initiative that eases and facilitates the difficult task facing today’s business leaders, in what remain challenging economic times, of driving their organisations forward effectively is to be commended.


The challenge for mediators is to demonstrate compellingly that mediation provides an effective, flexible and affordable mechanism for the resolution of all forms of dispute in many, if not all, situations (as well as helping to reduce significantly the likelihood of a recurrence if lessons are learnt and best practice is adopted). Despite encouraging evidence of its growing adoption and use, the prevailing view is that mediation continues to fall well short of its real potential in terms of its reach and the number of users who benefit from it. For mediation to develop to the next level at an acceptable pace requires a strong independent organisation to lead and facilitate its development and growth.


The Civil Mediation Council (CMC) was established in 2003 to be a neutral and independent body to represent and promote mediation and other dispute resolution options, and thereby further access to justice. As the name suggests, the organisation’s origins lay initially more in the mediation of commercial disputes but its membership has grown in recent years to include the majority of leading private workplace mediation providers alongside established civil and commercial mediators and mediation providers. It has enjoyed strong support


By The Civil Mediation Council


from, amongst others, Acas, the Bar Council and the Law Society, and has been recognised by the Ministry of Justice and the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills. The CMC also maintains active links with the Family Mediation Council and is committed to supporting community mediation. As a result it is best placed, and ready, to take on the key role and challenge of actively promoting the mediation agenda and in setting standards.


In preparation for this, the CMC has taken important steps over the last 18 months to build on its strong foundations and make itself truly fit for purpose, and reinforce its position as the trusted voice of mediation in England and Wales. A new company, Civil Mediation Council Limited has been formed. Membership is open to all organisations and individuals with an interest in mediation, reflecting our intention that, as well as mediators and mediation service providers, others will have the opportunity to help shape the mediation agenda. To reinforce its independence and neutrality, provision has been made for the appointment of 3 independent directors as well as an Advisory Board drawn from all sides of the business, mediation and user communities. Charitable status is expected to be confirmed shortly, further reflecting the CMC’s commitment to serving the public benefit and performing an educational role.


The CMC is committed to now driving the mediation agenda forward by, in simple terms ‘Putting Mediation to Work’ – in the workplace, within business, among consumers, in the community, within government, and elsewhere. Mediation is not the only dispute resolution technique and will not always be the right option, although it very often is. In delivering the keynote address at the recent CMC Conference, the Rt Hon. Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, President of the Supreme Court, spoke of mediation “as a good thing” from his perspective as “an informed, objective and supportive observer and commentator of mediation” and something to be encouraged “based on practicality and principle, and not on some form of messianic commitment”. Mediation should be seen as complementary to other traditional forms of dispute resolution including negotiation, arbitration and litigation.


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