Landmark study investigates NZ mediation market

by Miklos Bolza26 Aug 2015
A recent survey of mediators across New Zealand has revealed some interesting facts about this small yet flourishing industry.

The study, conducted by Victoria Wellington’s School of Law together with LEADR & IAMA through the University’s Summer Scholarship Program, contained data collected from 34 commercial mediators.

Dr Grant Morris, senior lecturer in Victoria’s Faculty of Law, said that the survey results presented strong evidence for settling disputes through mediation instead of through the courts.

“There are a lot of benefits to mediation. It’s cheaper, it’s faster, and it gives parties greater control over the outcome,” Morris said.

“Resolving disputes outside of the courts also offers a higher degree of confidentially, so people are motivated to go through mediation by a desire to preserve relationships and reputations.”

The survey also revealed that most referrals to mediation originated from lawyers while very few came from the courts. It also showed that there was great support throughout the legal sector for mediation to be mandatory in certain contexts.

This research was the first of its kind in New Zealand. “Before the survey, all we had to rely on was anecdotes, but this gives us the evidence needed to better understand how the mediation market works,” Morris said.

“Mediation is vital to the New Zealand economy because it can resolve disputes in a timely and sensitive way allowing for the smoother operation of business. If mediation can improve the way business operates, we need to find out more about how we can grow the small, but promising market.”

Morris hopes this study will inspire further research on the commercial mediation industry in New Zealand in order to shed new light on this relatively unknown sector.