The growth in civil and commercial mediations has slowed over the past two years, a survey by a leading provider shows, but fees have climbed sharply.
The seventh mediation audit undertaken by the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) shows that the number of civil and commercial mediation cases rose 5% to 10,000 between April 2015 and March 2016, from 9,500 in 2014.
This represents a slower increase compared to previous years: the number of mediations rose by 9% from 2012-2014 and by 15% from 2010-2012.
The survey’s 319 responses show that fees have risen significantly since 2014. Fees for a one-day mediation rose by 18% to £4,500 for experienced mediators and by 9% to £1,545 for the less experienced. This follows a first-ever drop in average fees in 2014.
The average income for the busiest mediators has risen by £30,000 on average since 2014 to £400,000, but is still below the level in 2012 when average incomes were £414,000.
The survey shows that the number of non-lawyer mediators is continuing to rise, and for the first time less than half (43%) of those surveyed were legally qualified.
The CEDR said the data suggests that the decline in the proportion of lawyer-mediators is because of a rise in other fields rather than a fall in interest from the legal profession.
Mediation is still dominated by a select few, with around 145 individuals involved in around 85% of all commercial cases. But this has increased from 130 in 2014, suggesting competition is slowly increasing.
Novice and intermediate mediators account for 46% of the market, while advanced mediators account for 54%.
The success rate for mediations remained level at around 86%, but the proportion of cases that reached settlement on the first day of mediation fell from 75% in 2014 to 67%.
The number of hours mediators spend on a typical mediation has also risen, increasing 13% since 2014 to 18.6 hours, suggesting that parties increasingly need more time to reach an agreement.