A row has broken out over a proposed European directive on mediation published on 22 October.
Mediators and other bodies, including the Department of Constitutional Affairs (DCA), are concerned that the directive will impose too much regulation on this area of dispute resolution.
The directive has been in discussion since 2002, when a Green Paper on mediation was published. A drafting committee including Littleton Chambers’ head Michel Kallipetis QC representing the bar, and Michael Lind of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Group drew up the directive.
The European Commission’s full proposal for the directive was made clear on 22 October. It expanded on the draft articles and introduced the question of regulation and “framework legislation”.
Lind said that the directive was intended to achieve uniformity across member states in the way that mediation is carried out and to promote mediation across the EU.
He added: “There are concerns about how it is going to impact upon mediation in the UK and in Europe.”
The ADR Group is working to produce a response to the proposal. A spokesman for the DCA said: “This directive was only released by the Commission in the past few days and we are studying it closely. The Government has made clear its wish to encourage the use of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms and, in particular, it has indicated that it will do so in cross-border matters.”