Commenting on her award, Emma said: 'I am absolutely thrilled to have been chosen as the winner of the Bar Council’s Law Reform Essay Competition 2022. I am truly honoured to be the recipient of such a prestigious and generous award.

'I chose to write about compulsory mediation having trained as a mediator this summer. I found the topic fascinating due to its potential to increase the efficiency of the court system and enhance access to justice.'

This year’s competition is generously sponsored by City Law School, University of London.

‘Crossing the Constitutional Rubicon: why mediation should be compulsory in all civil disputes’

By Emma Meadows

Mediation is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) which does not have a statutory definition. It ‘involves the use of a neutral third party who seeks to facilitate what is essentially a negotiation process to resolve a dispute’. While ‘mediation has enjoyed a global blossoming’ as part of the growth industry of conflict resolution, it ‘has not been accepted by the legal system in the way most would have hoped’. There have been calls for compulsory mediation to be considered in the UK to deal with court backlogs, especially following COVID-19-related delays. In July 2022, the Government released a consultation paper regarding the implementation of compulsory mediation in the small claims court. Steps have therefore already been taken to implement a compulsory mediation system. This essay will argue that these proposals should be extended, and that mediation should be compulsory in all civil disputes…

The full essay is reproduced below.