There are many high-profile cases where mediation has been recommended as a more therapeutic way of resolving medical treatment disputes concerning children. For example, in the cases of Charlie Gard, Alfie Evans and Archie Battersbee, mediation has been used or suggested as a better way of helping family members and healthcare professionals discuss the difficult and emotive issues at play.
It is increasingly perceived that health and care environments have become a place of profound disagreement and that mediation might help to reduce disagreement in these cases by, for example, facilitating better communication and increased trust between parties. This disagreement between the parties may be unsurprising given the sensitive and emotive issues at stake but the levels of relationship breakdown in a number of high-profile cases have raised concerns from the judiciary, participants and academia.
As the use of mediation has not yet been tested through empirical research in the medical treatment disputes context, nor has a model of Therapeutic Justice been developed or applied to this field, this project seeks to test those claims empirically through qualitative analysis of mediation in medical treatment disputes.