For the first time the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) claims to be able to publish data on the overall economic impact of the commercial mediation. CEDR’s 2007 findings draw upon the biennial audits that took place in 2003 and 2005, which “therefore enables the identification of changes in the market and mediator attitudes over the past two years.”
According to CEDR, by achieving earlier resolution of cases that would otherwise have proceeded through litigation, the commercial mediation process this year will save business in excess of £1 billion a year in wasted management time, damaged relationships, lost productivity and legal fees. The report goes further suggesting “that since 1990, the mediation profession has contributed savings of £6.3 billion”, and that “by way of a comparator to these figures, the audit results suggest that the aggregate value of the mediation profession in terms of total fee income, is around £8.2 million.”
The audit was open to all mediators and was extended to the mediators and members of all of the service provider members of the Civil Mediation Council (i.e. ADR Chambers, ADR Group, CEDR, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and In Place of Strife). The audit website was visited by 351 separate individuals.
The audit covered attitudes of civil and commercial mediators to a range of issues concerning their personal background, mediation practice and experience, court-annexed mediation, training standards and professional regulation, and the critical factors in achieving successful mediation.
The findings show:
- There were approximately 3,700 mediations performed in the last 12 months - an increase of 33 per cent in two years since 2005.
- For the first time mediation schemes - often fixed fee and time-limited – such as those run by the Courts, the National Mediation Helpline and organization schemes now operated by many major employers - constitute around 25% of the total market.
- The market is now split roughly 60:40 per cent between directly referred cases and those passing through the hands of service providers (excluding schemes).
- The number of female mediators is at 18 per cent (compared to the legal profession, in which 42 per cent of all practicing solicitors are women).
- 80 (experienced) mediators dominate the market, being involved in 80 per cent of cases (within this group 35 individuals perform 57 per cent of all cases).
- The mediation fees of the ‘top’ mediators now average £3,120. 13 per cent of experienced mediators, each undertaking 50-100 cases a year, are earning £282,000 or more per year (in 2005 this figure was £177,000).
- Mediators claimed that around 75 per cent of their cases settled on the day, with nearly another 13 per cent settling shortly thereafter so as to give an aggregate settlement rate of 88 per cent.
- Over 67 per cent of mediators favored the courts taking a more directive approach towards the promotion of mediation.
- 52 per cent of mediators said they would welcome a single standard of basic professional training of commercial mediators (as against a free market in basic accreditation).
- 58 per cent said they believed there should be a single regulatory body for the setting and monitoring of professional standards for mediation practice, and dealing with public complaints against mediators.