HomeFWJ TakeawayDebt recoverySmall claims and county court claimsCompulsory Small Claims Mediation

Since 2007, parties making a claim for less than £10,000 have been able to opt-in to mediation. Using  this approach, it is estimated by His Majesty’s Court and Tribunals Services (HMCTs) that small claims mediation has led to around half of these types of claims being settled without the need for a court hearing.

What is the Compulsory Small Claims Mediation?

It is now compulsory for parties in a small claims matter to attend a free telephone mediation appointment, with no exceptions, run by HMCTS. This new system is now “baked in to the court process” as set our by the Government.

How does the mediation appointment work?

Claims will be referred to the Small Claims Mediation Service when all parties have filed their directions questionnaire. This service is free of charge. The telephone Mediation appointments will take one hour. If the case does not settle, it will then proceed to trial.

  • The session is conducted by a trained mediator, who will speak to both parties separately and work to find a solution that everyone can agree on.
  • There is no requirement for a settlement to be reached, only that the Parties attend the appointment.

What are the consequences of failing to attend a compulsory Small Claims Mediation Appointment?

Where a Party fails to attend a Small Claims Mediation Appointment then at the final hearing the Court will consider whether to sanction a party if they did not attend the mediation, such as striking out a claim, and/or may take such failure into account when considering unreasonable behaviour pursuant to CPR 45.13 when determining any costs award.

The non-attending party will need to evidence good reason for their non-attendance by way of comments and supporting documents.

What are the benefits of small claims mediation?

Giving the delays currently being experienced by the Courts, Mediation provides the possibility of settling a dispute which is much faster and more cost effective than running a claim to final hearing. Furthermore, the process for mediation is much simpler with the Parties being in control and the final decision not being down to the Court.

Everyone I spoke to at Francis Wilks & Jones was friendly and helpful as well as being objective and transparent about my case. Communication was easy and swift all the way through and the work carried out was thorough and efficient. I feel that Andrew got me the best outcome possible. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them.

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