Summaries of research

This section contains links to, and some summaries of, research on aspects of administrative justice, including tribunals and courts, ombuds and mediation. Some of these summaries have been produced by UKAJI. Some were produced by Advice Services Alliance as part of its ADRnow website, and these are published here with permission of Advice Services Alliance and the UCL Centre for Access to Justice.

Systems overviews

Redress and Administrative Justice in Scotland (2009)

Report providing an overview and comprehensive analysis of all aspects of administrative justice in Scotland. It considers how the administrative justice system should respond to, and be focused on, the needs of the citizens who use it. One aspect of the evaluation examines effective redress when things go wrong.

Citizen redress (2005)

A report mapping existing redress systems for individual citizens to challenge what they perceive to be poor treatment, mistakes or injustices by central government departments or agencies. It explores what processes exist for handling complaints and appeals, including internal review and complaints procedures, tribunals, adjudicators and the public-sector ombudsmen.

Paths to Justice (1999)

Research exploring how often people experience problems which might have a legal solution (‘justiciable events’) and how they set about solving them. The survey concentrated on the type of civil problems that people might encounter in their everyday lives, such as family disputes, debt, and housing and employment problems.

Civil Justice Review – Scotland (2009)

A review of the provision of civil justice by the courts in Scotland, including their structure, jurisdiction, procedures and working methods, and in particular to consider the cost of litigation; the role of mediation and other methods of dispute resolution in relation to court process; the development of modern methods of communication and case management; and the issue of specialisation of courts or procedures.

ADR and litigation (1997)

A review of literature about existing schemes that offer an alternative to courts for resolving disputes, about the way in which decisions are made as to which dispute resolution option to use, and a comparison between outcomes in different schemes. The review concludes that there should be better information about ADR schemes, standards need to be published and enforced, concerns about fairness directly addressed, and government commitment to ADR needs to be backed up with ‘hard funding’. The authors describe proposals for a Council on ADR, to operate as an overseeing body, and OFOMB, a regulator of ombudsman schemes.

Initial decision-making

Decision Making and Mandatory Reconsideration, Social Security Advisory Committee (2016)

The SSAC’s report examines the impact of Mandatory Reconsideration (MR), the 2013 reform introducing a compulsory internal review stage of the process of challenging benefits decisions. The intention of the reform is to resolve disputes earlier and reduce appeals to tribunal, but the SSAC notes the controversy around the change and the questions raised about how successful it is in meeting those policy objectives.

Tribunals and ADR

Judicial mediation in employment discrimination (2010)

An evaluation of a pilot scheme offering mediation by tribunal judges in discrimination cases at the employment tribunal. The aim of the research was to explore to what extent judicial mediation was able to resolve cases without the need for a formal hearing, did it result in lower costs, and what were the benefits for claimants and employers, both in terms of outcomes and improved process?

Early neutral evaluation in tribunal appeals (2010) 

An evaluation of a pilot scheme offering early neutral evaluation (ENE) of tribunal appeals involving Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Attendance Allowance (AA). The purpose of the pilot was to identify the success and cost-effectiveness of using ENE to resolve administrative appeals without the need for a full tribunal hearing.

Dispute resolution in special educational needs (2009) 

Research carried out into the use and effectiveness of mediation in resolving special educational needs (SEN) and additional support needs (ASN) disputes, which may go to tribunal but have been identified as particularly well suited to mediation.

Judicial review

Mediation and Judicial Review (2009)

Research exploring the value and limits of mediation in judicial review claims. Despite the considerable enthusiasm among policy makers and others for increased use of mediation, the actual take-up of mediation in judicial review cases is negligible. The study attempted to explore the reasons for this through interviews with judges, public law practitioners and mediators.

Civil and consumer mediation

Civil disputes mediation (2004)

There are many arguments for encouraging the use of mediation to resolve civil disputes, but there is little reliable information about current usage and effectiveness. This report aimed to review published evidence for the use of mediation in England and Scotland, and to offer suggestions for future policy and practice.

Consumer ADR in the UK (2004)

Research by the National Consumer Council to map the provision and use of ADR options for consumer disputes in the UK. One finding was that a major gap exists between government policy of promoting ADR on the one hand and the on-the-ground reality of access to effective and affordable ADR on the other.

Civil disputes mediation (2001)

A study of the development of mediation in Scotland and how it might benefit individuals with civil, non-family disputes. It follows on from earlier research by the Scottish Consumer Council that found that the small claims procedure is not as informal as intended and places litigants-in-person at a disadvantage. It is not an empirical research study but instead gives an overview of the issues to address if civil, non-family mediation is to be developed in Scotland.

Community mediation

Neighbour mediation and ASB (2003)

Research comparing the costs and effectiveness of mediation and legal interventions in dealing with anti-social behaviour and examining why some disputants do not agree to the use of mediation.

Community mediation (2002)

A scoping survey of neighbourhood mediation provision in England, Wales and Scotland. It focuses in particular on mediation of disputes between neighbours rather than the wider definition of community mediation that includes victim-offender mediation and peer mediation in schools. It examines how these services are funded, who uses them, and how quality standards are set and maintained.

Neighbour mediation (1996)

The objectives of the researchers were to provide an up-to-date overview of the work of community mediation services and local authority housing and environmental health service departments and to compare the cost-effectiveness of procedures for handling neighbour disputes. 

Court-based mediation

Small claims mediation service (2010)

A summary of a report by Consumer Focus on research it commissioned into consumers’ experience of the small claims process in England and Wales in 2007-2010. The summary focuses on the findings regarding satisfaction with the HMCS Small Claims Mediation Service.

Central London County Court (2007)

A review of the mediation scheme run at Central London County Court. This 2007 review follows on from an evaluation of the same scheme – also carried out by Hazel Genn – published in 1998. This review looks at the number and type of cases mediated since the 1998 evaluation, the outcome of the cases, and what has happened to the settlement rate at mediation during this time. It also explores the views of parties and their lawyers about the mediation process.

Compulsory mediation? (2007)

A review of the Automatic Referral to Mediation (ARM) pilot at Central London County Court (‘Twisting arms: court referred and court linked mediation under judicial pressure’) carried out by Hazel Genn, who also evaluated the voluntary mediation scheme at the court in 1998 and 2007. The study was set up to explore what happened when people were, in effect, compelled to mediate, and it indicated that robust judicial encouragement did not increase the take-up of mediation; it also suggested that increased pressure to mediate resulted in a decreased settlement rate.

Small claims mediation (2006)

Research carried out on three pilot mediation schemes set up by the Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) to offer mediation in small claims disputes. The pilots were in Manchester, Exeter and Birmingham and involved three different models. The model used in Manchester has since been rolled out across all courts in England and Wales.

Post-Woolf litigation (2005)

Qualitative research exploring at the management of fast-track and multi-track cases in England and Wales following the Woolf civil justice reforms, which encouraged early settlement of disputes and consideration of alternatives to litigation through active case management and pre-action protocols.

Exeter small claims (2004)

An evaluation of the pilot small claims mediation scheme set up at Exeter County Court in June 2002 to provide an alternative to a hearing for parties with claims under £5,000.

Court of Appeal (2002)

A report presenting findings from an evaluation of the Commercial Court’s practice of issuing ADR orders, and a review of the Court of Appeal’s mediation scheme established in 1996.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court (2002)

An evaluation of an in-court advice and mediation service introduced at Edinburgh Sheriff Court in 1997. Phase 2 of the research (the subject of this summary) monitored the operation of the advice service and the newly linked mediation provision over nine months.

Leeds County Court (2001)

An evaluation of a pilot mediation scheme in Leeds Combined Court Centre, which was operated in conjunction with The Law Society (Yorkshire and Northeast Regional Office) and the Association of Northern Mediators.

Central London County Court (1998)

An evaluation, carried out by Hazel Genn, of the two-year pilot mediation scheme set up in Central London County Court for non-family civil disputes with a value over £3,000. The scheme was continued after the pilot, and was evaluated again by Professor Genn in 2007.


Use of mediation in complaints about police (2010)

An evaluation of the use of mediation by the Police Ombudsman in Northern Ireland in dealing with complaints about police services

Small mistakes, big consequences (2009)

A report by the Parliamentary Ombudsman highlighting the serious consequences of seemingly minor errors by public bodies.

Financial Ombudsman (2004)

An evaluation of the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). The evaluation included observation of the FOS process, detailed audits of 72 closed cases and interviews with operational and senior staff.

ADR in Ombudsman schemes (2003)

An overview of the results of a survey of ombudsmen and independent complaints handlers exploring what alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes are being used by ombudsmen and how good practice can be developed on this.

Public views on Ombudsmen (2003)

A MORI study commissioned jointly by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and the Local Government Ombudsman to explore people’s experience of complaining to and about public services; the current level of public awareness of public-sector ombudsman services; and advice sector awareness of and satisfaction with these.

Mediation generally

Public awareness of mediation (2005)

Research examining the awareness and perceptions of mediation amongst the Scottish population in terms of age groups, socio-economic status and gender. The research was commissioned by the Scottish Consumer Council.

Mediation in the advice sector (2003)

A survey by Advice Services Alliance (ASA) to identify whether advice agencies consider that they provide mediation services alongside their advice services. As a result of the findings, ASA recommended that creative and flexible ways of resolving disputes without going to court are to be encouraged, but that the advice sector needs to have a clear understanding of the nature of mediation and a clear understanding of the distinction between advice, negotiation (whether by phone, letter or face-to-face), representation and mediation.

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