Is Mediation for me?

Because the process of mediation is flexible and can accommodate a whole range of situations, the majority of disputes can be mediated. There are no written rules for determining when mediation will work and it is not always possible to know without trying. However, when making your decision on whether to mediate, it may help to consider a number of issues that will ensure more chance of success.

Ask yourself if there is a negotiable issue in dispute i.e. is there ground on which to move and will you and the other party be happy to voluntarily commit to a meeting to try to agree to an agreed outcome or can you or the other party afford to simply ignore the problem? It’s good to remember it helps if each party needs something from the other. It is also helpful, but not necessary, for the parties to trust each other. Trust makes mediation easier. Of course both parties have to trust the mediator.

Disputes about issues such as: money, property, behaviour, rights and intellectual property are easier to mediate than disputes based on personal values, reputation or beliefs. Even so it is essential that one party is not able to dominate the other or dictate throughout the session and to have those with authority to settle present in the mediation.

It is important to remember that mediators are trained to assess power imbalances and will intervene in order to maintain equilibrium, which is why mediation often works well for complex cases requiring creative solutions and if you want a private solution. Mediation is attractive if the parties want a flexible and informal process or if other options for resolving the conflict are not desirable, it works where both parties have an interest in maintaining their relationship (business or otherwise) after the dispute is resolved.

Many people will have considered going to the small claims court to pursue their claim and it is at this point that mediation should be considered by both parties. The earlier a dispute goes to mediation, the more likely it will settle. The longer a dispute goes on, the more parties tend to become entrenched in their positions and less willing to consider advice on how to settle outside of litigation which is why it is important to choose your mediator quickly once you have made your decision.


When not to mediate

In some disputes mediation is not appropriate. These include cases in which:

• The case is genuinely thoughtless or opportunistic

• A party is acting in bad faith

• A party wants to delay the onset of litigation

• The safety of any of the parties is at risk

• A legal precedent is required to govern similar cases in the future

• An issue of law, public policy or interpretation needs to be clarified on record

• Public access to or participation in the decision is desirable

• People who are not parties to the dispute might be influenced by the outcome

• The dispute is over a decision where a statutory decision maker had no discretion

• The validity of a parliamentary act or law is challenged


If both parties in dispute have agreed to mediate and you wish to book an appointment please email


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Small Claims Mediation (UK) Ltd is a company registered in England and Wales under company number 08400025.

Business address: PO Box 10352, Oakham, Rutland LE15 0SY

Contact 0800 1670700

Small Claims Mediation (UK) Ltd’s VAT registration number is 160177231