Employment expert says mediation cases double after law change

A senior mediation specialist says his caseload has doubled since the introduction of changes to employment law earlier this year.

Tim Jones, head of the employment team at law firm Higgs & Sons, said the July changes included a direction for Employment Tribunals to encourage wider use of mediation to settle disputes.

Trained mediator Tim said his workload had increased by 100 per cent as a result and that research proved just how effective mediation could be in solving disputes.

“As part of the changes which came into effect on July 29, tribunals were urged to encourage parties involved in a dispute to use the services of the conciliation service ACAS, judicial or other mediation to try to settle their differences,” he said.

“As a result, the number of cases I am being called in to mediate has doubled, with the vast majority of those cases being settled quickly and efficiently.”

Tim said that research showed there is a 90 per cent chance of settling a claim using mediation, with 70 per cent of disputes being resolved on the day and the other 20 per cent being resolved within a few days of the mediation itself.

“Mediation works because it helps people to see the emotional impact of the dispute, amongst other things, and better get a true understanding of how each party is feeling,” said Tim.

And Tim added that the more people understand the mediation process, the more likely they were to use it to resolve disputes.

“Higgs recently held an employment seminar for local employers. We did a poll during the event asking how many people in the room used mediation in the workplace. At the beginning of the training session about 33% said they did.

“But by the end of the mediation training session there was another poll, and 100% of the audience said they could see the “true” benefits of using mediation and would be considering their policies and procedures to determine what changes are required to introduce workplace mediation as part of their process to resolve internal disputes.”

Higgs & Sons works from two offices in the Black Country – Waterfront Business Park in Brierley Hill and Kingswinford. The firm employs more than 200 people, which includes over 100 specialist lawyers.

For specialist advice for your business relating to employment issues, contact Tim on 0845 111 5050 or email Tim.jones@higgsandsons.co.uk