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Compulsory Mediation in Small Claims

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The Small Claims Track is a procedural system that deals with low value claims.  Disputes on the Small Claims Track are progressed more quickly, and on a less formal basis, compared with high value and/or complicated matters.

The process is intended to be more party friendly, so as to make it possible for parties to represent themselves.

In the vast majority of small claims disputes, only limited costs are recoverable from an opponent, regardless of the outcome.  This is intended to both discourage parties from incurring substantial costs in professional fees, and also to encourage settlement.

Mediation has been optional in small claims disputes since 2007. Compulsory mediation has now been introduced for claims issued on or after 22 May 2024 which are likely to be allocated to the Small Claims Track.

Claims issued through the Online Civil Money Claims (OCMC) service will not be caught by the new requirement immediately, although compulsory mediation will be extended to apply to claims issued through the OCMC later this year.

Mediation appointments will be conducted over the telephone by a trained mediator and will last up to one hour.  The service will be free of charge.

Whilst mediation is not currently mandatory in all non-small claims disputes, the introduction of compulsory mediation to a wider range of claims in the future would not come as a surprise.

For further information on what to expect from a mediation session, a short video has been prepared by HM Courts & Tribunal Service which can be viewed here.

This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.
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    Written by Millie Bird