A new pilot scheme is designed to give a shot in the arm to the Court of Appeal Mediation Scheme (CAMS). It will be managed by CEDR (Centre for Dispute Resolution) which administers CAMS.
The pilot applies to all personal injury and contract claims up to the value of £100,000 for which permission to appeal is sought and obtained (or adjourned). Unless a judge exceptionally directs otherwise, the parties in such cases will be informed that case papers are automatically recommended for mediation to CEDR. If the parties agree to mediate, a panel of accredited CAMS mediators will be nominated by CEDR. The selected mediator will bring the parties together to try to reach a settlement. If there is a settlement, the case will not go back to the Court of Appeal.
When litigants in person are involved in the appeal , and qualify for free legal help, LawWorks Mediation will seek to arrange a pro bono legal adviser for them for the mediation, and if necessary, a pro bono mediation as well where there are two unrepresented parties.
Lord Justice Rix, who led a working group set up by the Master of the Rolls to revitalise the CAMS scheme, said:
“Judges regularly see cases in the Court of Appeal which could easily have been resolved at an earlier stage though the use of mediation. Parties may not be poles apart, but litigation can have a corrosive effect for which mediation can provide a balm. Mediation in the Court of Appeal can save a great deal of money and anxiety”.
Tony Allen, Senior Consultant and former Director of CEDR, said:
“It is sometimes felt that by the time a case has reached the Court of Appeal, the time for mediation has passed – that is not the case and has been proven not to be the case. The number of cases that settle just before an appeal hearing demonstrate this, and a substantial number of appeals have been successfully mediated through CAMS..
“Another incentive for parties in the pilot will be that if they fail to make any effort towards mediation, this may be taken into account by the judges who eventually hear the appeal when it comes to awarding costs against parties for their conduct during the appeal. Case law provides for the possibility of costs sanctions in such circumstances.”
Lavinia Shaw-Brown, Head of LawWorks Mediation, said:
“We will do our best to assist litigants in person whose case falls within the pilot and who qualify for our free help. It is not fair that lack of funds is the only barrier to a successful mediation being conducted. LawWorks Mediation has an excellent pedigree in providing pro bono assistance and we are happy to be taking part in CAMS.”
The pilot begins on 2nd April 2012 and will run for a year. It will be monitored by CEDR and the evaluation will be considered by the senior judiciary. Parties will receive an information pack if their case falls within the pilot, and CEDR or LawWorks Mediation will contact them directly.
- Further details of the overall CAMS can be found here – http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/rcj-rolls-building/court-of-appeal/civil-division/mediation
- The members of the CAMS working party overseeing the new scheme were: Lord Justice Rix, Lord Justice Tomlinson, Tony Allen (CEDR), Philip Bartle QC, Lavinia Shaw-Brown (LawWorks), Rob Hendy (HMCTS) and Peter Farr (Secretary – Judicial Office). John Munton (CEDR) and Sally Meacher (HMCTS) also provided advice and support to the group.