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THE DEVELOPMENT OF COMMERCIAL MEDIATION IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
Commercial mediation in the United Kingdom developed slowly because people were hesitant to enter into settlement discussions where the result was non-binding and where the mediator could not impose a binding decision on the parties. The fact that any of the parties to a dispute can simply “walk away” at any time and go to court caused a natural reluctance in people to attempt mediation. “Why waste the time” was the usual comment and more importantly those that did initially become involved in mediation found that the “other side” used the process solely as an alternative way to obtain disclosure of information rather than attempting to settle any dispute. Additionally some people saw early mediation as a good way in which to drag matters out for an even longer time than was the norm in court. This was particularly true for those parties who would have been the ones having to “pay” at the end of the day. They saw it as a natural way to further prolong their need to pay and to add just one more impediment in the path towards resolution. Needless to say mediation did not get off to a good start.
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