DLA’s Insurance Group has announced a campaign to promote personal injury mediation. Despite the dramatic rise in the number of mediations in commercial disputes, there has been limited progress in the area of personal injury. The nature of mediation is particularly suitable for personal injury disputes since it can offer satisfactory results for both parties which may include remedies which would not be available through litigation. In addition mediation offers the likelihood of a dramatic reduction in the duration and costs of the dispute.
Both the Civil Procedure Rules and the case law require parties to consider whether ADR (including mediation) is appropriate. However, personal injury practitioners have been reluctant to embrace mediation, alleging that personal injury is a “special case”.
The campaign was launched at Somerset House on 10 November and was attended by Professor Karl Mackie, Chief Executive of CEDR (Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution) and The Right Honourable Lord Justice Brooke, Vice President of The Court Of Appeal (Civil Division).
The campaign is led by Alan Jacobs and Matthew Hirst, both partners in DLA’s Insurance Group and CEDR accredited mediators. The campaign includes the launch of a landmark study in 2004 into the use of mediation in personal injury disputes. A third of those delegates who attended the launch have agreed to participate. They have agreed to refer a number of cases to mediation and then share the management information with DLA, which DLA will then analyse and publish. The campaign will also include an annual prize for the insurer who does most to encourage the development of personal injury mediation.
Matthew Hirst commented:
“There is no justifiable reason why personal injury mediation has not been embraced by lawyers and insurers. We believe that the insurance market can take the lead and our campaign is intended to achieve just that.”