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Once, to my profound disappointment, one of my clients who I acted for, spoken with almost every day for 5 years, and won for said that the outcome had not been worth it.

That rocked me, mainly because I understood that they were right; a piece of paper after numerous Court appearances doesn’t really satisfy the investment that we as people invest into the process.

Also, service providers that get beaten with the big stick of litigation don’t respond in any other way than grudgingly. So I took the view that whilst litigation is often unavoidable, it is not inevitable. Culture change is more likely when people understand each other in a less adversarial environment.

I therefore took the view that I could often do better through Mediation and many of my heavyweight cases have successfully completed in that context.

I qualified as a Mediator because of this.

According to the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR), the Government is now preparing to proceed with rules which require parties to attempt mediation on a mandatory basis in England & Wales.

Whilst I absolutely agree with the benefits of Mediation, there are not enough Mediators who are disability aware and CEDR does not include disability awareness in any way on it’s teaching, despite my attempts to change that. The cost of Mediation is already prohibitively expensive, and is likely to be even more expensive if there remains a lack of supply for a new mandatory demand.

The qualification costs £7K and involves a week of 8-6 intense training, role plays and examinations.

To instruct a Mediator is likely to be £2K-£5K.

So, watch this space. Mediation is good, but not if the cost of of it, in itself becomes a further financial barrier to enforcement of rights. Hopefully the Government will ensure that if mandatory mediation is introduced, it will also agree a standard to be applied to those mediators which will include equality training as part of the qualification and will recognise that the process is likely to be a deterrent to disabled people statistically less able to afford the cost.

Careful thought needs to be applied to whether Mediation should be Government subsidised in Equality Act Goods & Services cases.

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