Clearing 2021

New clinic will develop students’ skills in mediation

  • Date

    Thu 12 Aug 21

From September, a new clinic will allow law students to develop their professional skills in mediation while providing a vital service to the community.

The new academic year will see students in the School of Law exploring a further opportunity to develop their professional skills. A new Mediation Clinic will provide pro bono mediation services to clients in the community, while introducing undergraduates to this fast-growing area of legal practice.

In recent years, mediation has proved an increasingly popular option for resolving disputes, with demand only increasing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr Timea Tallodi, the new Clinic’s Lead , said: “The pandemic has brought a significant increase in conflict, with disputes, for example, in the community between landlords and tenants, employers and employees, and within families.

“Mediation is not only cheaper and quicker than traditional litigation, it has also been shown to lead to better outcomes. Through mediation, both parties can hope to get that which is most important to them – it replaces the adversarial approach of litigation with mediation’s aim of ‘win-win’.”

Mediation involves the two parties in a dispute coming together in the presence of a qualified, independent third party, to work towards a mutually-acceptable settlement.

Mediation clinic students will assist qualified mediators in helping to resolve conflicts and will be supervised on various projects by mediation specialists. Students will also help develop mediation resources for use in the wider community. The Clinic will also operate online, allowing students to service clients across a wide geographical area.

Dr Timea Tallodi said: “The Clinic will provide pro bono mediation services, facilitating a non-adversarial approach to dispute resolution. The aim is to support individuals in our community but also to have an impact on the justice system.

“Acquiring mediation skills will enhance graduate employability and place our students at a great advantage as they embark on their legal careers.”

In March 2020, a CEDR report estimated that, in England & Wales, 16,500 civil and commercial mediation cases alone entered mediation between April 2019 and March 2020, a 38% increase on the equivalent figure from 2018. The CEDR’s Mediation Audit reported that 93% of these cases were settled successfully.

Separating couples are encouraged to consider mediation before embarking on litigation and may be asked by a court to show they have attended a mediation information and assessment meeting (MIAM). Even if successful, the courts can penalise parties who have resisted mediation options, awarding costs against them.

The introduction of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), from September 2021, will place greater emphasis on law students acquiring practical skills.

The Mediation Clinic will be open to all law undergraduates from the start of the new academic year.