Nearly two thirds of Yorkshire's top 500 companies have never been offered the option of mediation by their solicitors.
This is despite the fact that 98 per cent of them thought that courts should encourage mediation before a dispute reaches court – and 72 per cent thought mediation would have a role in litigation in the future.
The survey was carried out by partners Gerard Khoshnaw and Andrew Callaghan of Dibb Lupton Alsop and the Centre for Dispute Resolution.
It found that mediation success rates were high – of the disputes referred to mediation, 86 per cent were resolved successfully. But only 13 per cent of the respondents had actually tried mediation.
Khoshnaw said: “Lawyers appear to be restricting the growth of mediation, which is a cause for concern.
“The biggest problem is that when mediation is mentioned, there is usually a silence from the lawyer on the other side. There is a depth of ignorance and fear out there due to inexperience.”