• Mediator immunity: time for evaluation in England and Wales?

      Brooker, Penny; University of Wolverhampton (Cambridge University Press, 2016-06-19)
      In England and Wales, the issue of mediator immunity has not been considered by the courts or via legislation. Mediator immunity is constructed by analogy to that given to judges, but the role of the judiciary is different to that of mediators, who do not determine cases and, it is argued, do not require protection from litigation because the parties are responsible for the final settlement outcome. In Australia and the USA, mediators are usually provided with immunity in mandatory, ‘court-annexed’ programmes, although this varies from an absolute to a qualified level that is constrained by bad faith or dishonesty. In the English jurisdiction, mediation is court-connected and parties are dissuaded from accessing the courts through the risk of costs penalties or automatic referral schemes. Therefore, the time is opportune for a review of many issues involved in mediation development, including immunity. This paper considers the reasoning for extending immunity to mediators, before concluding that the subject should not be determined through legal action until after a comprehensive review of mediation developments and after a consideration of mediator standards and regulation of practice.