A decade in numbers – Taking a look at trends at IM over the last ten years and a look at future trends in the mediation market

As we embark on a new decade we take a look back at the last decade at Independent Mediators in numbers.

We look at trends over the last decade and predictions for the next decade. So, we start with the big one, total number of mediations undertaken.

In the last ten years our mediators have undertaken over 5000 mediations in the UK and internationally. In that time and over that considerable number of mediations we have noticed changes both for our chambers and in the wider mediation world in practice areas, claim values, complexity of mediations and settlement rates.

Some changes we have seen in the last decade...

Practice areas.
General commercial and professional negligence disputes remain steady. A slight increase in group actions. A slight reduction in financial services disputes. Otherwise an even split over (almost too many to mention) practice areas as would be expected – commercial contract, construction, employment, insolvency, insurance, IP, IT, partnerships, pensions, probate, property, regulatory, shareholders and many more.

Claim Values.
Almost half of matters mediated are in the region of up to £2m with the remainder going up from there. Increase in very high claim value matters over the last decade, in the tens to hundreds of million pounds and some in the billions.

Complexity of Claims.
Over the last ten years (and longer) mediation has become embedded in the dispute resolution field and with that use comes increased sophistication amongst users and increased trust in the process. The result is increasingly complex matters coming to mediation.

With this comes an evolution in the process of mediation, with more two day mediations rather than one, more early involvement of the mediator and the mediator helping the parties to design the process. There can also be more post mediation contact from the mediator if needed.

Settlement rates.
The most significant portion of the mediations still settle on the day but settlement post mediation, rather than on the day, has seen a slight increase. This is likely a result of the increasingly complex matters coming to mediation.

Sometimes the issues are narrowed and initial offers exchanged and then the parties adjourn to reconsider, and perhaps take a further step (like an expert meeting). Then they re-convene through the mediator.


Looking forward to the next decade...

Crystal ball time! Based on events we have seen in the last decade here are some predictions for the mediation world over the next decade.

Increase in use of mediation in large ongoing matters. For example large construction projects, long term public sector contracts and investor-state matters where maintaining working relationships are essential. Mediator skills being used to tackle issues as and when arise and prevent escalation.

Increase in scheme mediations such as that used by the NHS and an increase in industry body led mediation schemes.

Judicial encouragement to continue via The Civil Justice Council Working Group on ADR, review of case law relating to mediation, increase in Mediation Acts being seen around the world.

Increase in financial services claims. The cyclical nature of economies would suggest a downturn at some point in the next decade which often leads to an increase in this area.

Increase in group actions, climate change disputes, data breach and privacy disputes including the impact of AI on data protection law.

Impact of schemes such as the disclosure pilot, fixed recoverable costs – could lead to an increase in attempting earlier settlements.

Increase in litigation funding – impacts of this could include a desire to settle earlier to release funds, an increase in group actions as provides the funds to carry these through.

Increase in international cross border disputes as the Singapore Convention is ratified.





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