Small Claims Telephone Mediation Service

This page is for information purposes and should not be relied upon as legal advice because it does not consider or take into account your own personal circumstances. If in doubt, seek legal advice.

If you engage the services of the Small Claims Mediation Service you might be interested in reading about the process and some additional information.

Contact details: Tel: 0300 123 4593 - Email:


You will receive an email informing you about the details of the process:

If you have received in the post a notice to attend a court hearing with directions, you must continue to comply with those directions.  Failure to do so may result in the claim/defence being struck out.


Appointment Time & Date


A telephone mediation appointment may be booked.  You will be called between ... and the appointment will last for a maximum of one hour. Mediation appointments are limited and can only be re-arranged under exceptional circumstances.


By accepting this appointment, you are agreeing to the mediation process and to the role of the mediator as explained below;


The Mediator


You will be contacted by an HMCTS appointed mediator, who is trained to help people settle their disputes.  The mediator, who is neutral, acts as a ‘go between’ to help both parties try to find a resolution.  They do not make decisions, offer legal advice or adjudicate the dispute.  Therefore the mediator does not have access to the contents of the court file either prior to or during the mediation.


If you and the other party(s) come to an agreement, the mediator will draw up the standard, enforceable, confidential Settlement Agreement, confirming what is agreed.  The mediator will then read the Settlement Agreement to you and this will become legally binding from the moment you verbally agree to it, which means there is no cooling off period for any party to change their mind about the terms at a later date.


Copies of the Settlement Agreement will then be sent to all parties and to the Court for the file; normally by e-mail within 24 hours.  There is no requirement for the settlement agreement to be signed by the parties.


Should the other party breach the terms of the agreement, you can apply to the court to enforce the agreement, in accordance with the terms of the settlement agreement.


If no agreement is made, the mediator will end the session and the case will proceed to a hearing, and the outcome decided by a District Judge.


As the mediation appointment is confidential, any proposals made by parties to settle the claim which do not result in an agreement cannot be referred to at a court hearing. All agreements will include the following confidentiality clause;


“The parties will keep the information contained in this agreement confidential and not use it for any other purpose. Other than a final written agreement, any information – whether written in a document prepared for mediation or written or spoken during mediation – can only be used for the purpose of mediation and cannot be referred to in any court action unless the parties agree. The parties agree that they will not call the mediator to give evidence in any court action.”


The mediator may not be called as a witness to give evidence in any court hearing.  It is also to be noted that the mediator may abandon the mediation appointment at any time without giving reason, if the mediator considers any parties’ behaviour is inappropriate or that the parties are not acting in good faith, with the aim of settling the claim.


Important Preparation


Please find below some guidance notes that will help you prepare for your mediation appointment.  It is important that you read this fully prior to your appointment.

  1. You must participate in mediation in good faith, with the intent to reach an agreement.  You must be prepared and willing to put your points forward, and to listen to the points raised by the other party.

    Top Tip: Spend a few moments making a list of the strengths & weaknesses of your case and think about how & where you are able to negotiate.
  2. The mediator may call from a blocked or unknown telephone number, which may be  from a mobile telephone.

    Top Tip:  Make sure the number you provided for the mediation session can accept calls from unknown or blocked numbers.
  3. If you want a 3rd party to mediate on your behalf, you must contact the Mediation Team by phone or email to authorise their involvement.  They must have full authority to act on behalf of a party.

    Top Tip: The 3rd party must be fully aware of the facts of the case & have a good understanding of how far you are willing to compromise.  You will be legally bound to any settlement agreements the 3rd party makes on your behalf.
  4. Your mediation appointment is time limited.  You must be free and by the phone at the time above, so that the mediator can contact you.

    Top Tip:  Make sure you are in a suitable location for the appointment that is free from distractions, with a good telephone signal.  The mediator will cancel the appointment immediately if you are driving even if you are using a hands-free device.
  5. You must be available at the start time of your appointment.  If you do not answer the phone or respond to any messages left by the mediator within 10 minutes, the mediator will cancel the appointment.

    Top Tip:  Have you provided the most suitable telephone number for your appointment?  If you are mediating on behalf of a company, have you provided a direct line?
  6. The mediator speaks to both parties separately.  You may not be the first person contacted, so please be aware that there may be a delay before the mediator calls you.  If you have not received a call within 15 minutes of when your appointment should have started, please call the Mediation Team.

Your mediation appointment will be conducted in 5 stages as set out below

  1. Stage one: Introduction:  The mediator will introduce herself/himself and verify that you have read and understand the mediation process.  Make sure that you have read the documents that will be sent to you prior to mediation taking place.
  2. Stage two: Clarifying each parties position:  It is crucial that you are able to briefly and accurately explain your claim or defence.  It is vital that you have prepared for the mediation by putting together a brief summary of your opening position.  Only the key points are necessary at this stage as the longer the time taken discussing the disputed issues will reduce the time available for exploring settlement options.
  3. Stage three: Developing options: You should have attended the mediation with a view to settling your case and this will mean both parties working to explore common ground or joint interest and working to overcome disputed issues by negotiated settlement.  The mediator whilst remaining impartial will help each party to explore options and discuss risks that are common to all litigation and help parties to move forwards rather than remain in a entrenched position.  The strength of the mediation process is in the hands of the parties and their willingness to listen to what each side has to say and to act accordingly in trying to reach a binding settlement.
  4. Stage four: Building agreement:  Settlement options could include monetary and or non monetary settlement options such as replacement of disputed items or rectification works to be undertaken.  Whatever the outcome it must be mutually acceptable to both parties on the principle that both parties have a common interest in reaching that agreement.  Simply put both parties must feel that they have gained some benefit from the mediation. Mediation is not about creating winners and losers.  
  5. Stage five: Closing the appointment:   The mediator will confirm the agreement by reading the terms to each party and by asking each if they fully agree to all the terms. Once agreed this becomes a legally binding agreement and the terms thereafter cannot be varied by either party.  A copy of the mediation agreement will be sent to both parties and a copy will be placed on the court file.

If after reading the above you are still unsure whether or not mediation is suitable, or if you have any other queries, please call the Mediation Team on the number below.

What to do if I am unhappy with the Mediation Service?

If you have any complaints or issues to raise regarding the Mediation Service, these should be addressed in writing to the Small Claims Mediation Team Manager, County Court Business Centre, St Katharine’s House, 21 – 27 St Katharine’s Street, Northampton, NN1 2LH


Small Claims Mediation Service Contact Details

Tel:  0300 123 45 93


Post:  St Katharines House, 21-27 St Katharines Street, Northampton, NN1 2LH

This page is for information purposes and should not be relied upon as legal advice because it does not consider or take into account your own personal circumstances. If in doubt, seek legal advice.