In-house lawyers are becoming more confident about mediation without assistance from external firms and three-quarters expect their use of mediation to grow in the next three years, according to a leading dispute resolution group.

A survey by the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) showed that of 50 respondents, 42% said they had seen no change in their use of mediation over the past three years and 4% had used it less. However, 40% had seen an increase and 8% said the rise had been significant.

Three-quarters expected their use of mediation to grow in the next three years and 18% expected growth to be significant.

Negotiation was the most common method of achieving settlements: 60% of disputes were settled by pre-litigation negotiation and 12% by negotiation after litigation had begun.

Mediation was the third most common method, accounting for 6% of settlements, higher than arbitration (2%) and court judgments (5%).

Over half of respondents worked in organisations with legal teams of fewer than 15, while over a fifth had departments with over 40 lawyers.

Their use of mediation varied – 13% said they had never used it, just under half had used it in 10% of cases and 40% said they used it in 30%-90% of disputes.

CEDR chief executive Karl Mackie (pictured) said the survey shows an ‘increasing confidence’ among in-house lawyers in mediation, with recourse to external help in setting up the process viewed as optional rather than essential.