Mediation Data Analysis
Mediation data for this financial year here at ADR Chambers has been collected. Analysing that data has revealed some interesting statistics.
First a disclaimer: There is no representation that the following outcomes are due solely to my skills. In many instances, the results have been influenced by the hard work of the lawyers preparing the clients for mediation.
The first statistic of 86% settled includes all matters mediated including interim and final matters. These figures relate only to private mediations and did not include any pro bono mediations conducted for the FCC. I have previously been reluctant to keep a win/loss record of mediations as I have always (and still do) held the belief that I ought not allow my personal motivations to influence my role as a mediator.
The outcome does however provide useful evidence to clients of the mediation process that it is a highly successful method of dispute resolution.
The average time of 6 hours reflects mostly the time of property settlement mediations. The longest mediation was 10 hours, the shortest was 2 hours. These averages also include FDR mediations which are ordinarily less than 4 hours.
The number of offers is an interesting statistic. Perhaps this is reflective of an Australian culture of incremental bargaining ? What is useful with this outcome for me is to reinforce my pre-mediation explanation to clients that compromise is an essential part of mediation and that the average of 5 offers per client reveals that most clients are willing to compromise to achieve a settlement.
The average disparity of $254,000 was perhaps the most intriguing outcome. Particularly when my notes reveal the property pools were often ten to twenty times this amount. One outlier was removed from this data set where the opening position was an adjustment of $3.5M and the response was effectively Nil. That matter did not settle, but the outlier result was included in the settled/not settled outcomes. My personal interpretation of this result is that it reflects the high state of preparedness to settle of most participants. It also reflects the extent to which most participants have had realistic and pragmatic legal advice. Finally, it also probably reflects the genuine eagerness of all participants to resolve the dispute at mediation rather than spend most of that difference in legal fees.