An interesting article in today's FT highlights the impact of a faltering economy on the litigation process.
"The number of civil law cases jumped by a quarter last year, the first increase since Lord Woolf’s civil justice system reforms in 1999, according to Judicial Statistics.
The number of High Court commercial law cases, which rose from 49,442 in 2005 to 61,691 last year, is now at its highest level for six years.
The sharp increase has been blamed on challenging economic situations. This is likely to worsen as the credit squeeze increases the likelihood of commercial disputes.
The biggest increase came from the number of Companies Court proceedings initiated by the Chancery Division, which rose 54 per cent in 2006 to 23,125 cases.
The Companies Court deals primarily with company liquidations, including winding-up petitions and claims to prevent individuals from becoming, or continuing as, a company director."
I anticipate this growth in civil claims will be mirrored in the Employment Tribunals.
This strong litigation background will provide more incentive for all parties to mediate. With its high success rate and potential to cut out costs, lawyers will have good reason to consider more mediation as a way to settle cases early.
Lawyers can also consider the benefits of effective preparation when they represent their clients which is a theme explored in the mediation training we provide at the "Making Mediation Work" course.