Mediation UK was a registered charity and company based in Bristol. It operated for over twenty years and was the umbrella organisation which provided support to several of the organisations who provide mediation services in the UK. The charity provided guidance, training and support to its member organisations as well as the Disability Conciliation Service who were also based in Bristol.
Although Mediation UK was a voice for these organisations providing mediation services, supporting, organising and providing training, standards and lobbying Government it is important to note they only operated within the sphere of those organisations who primarily provided community mediation services and those who mediated neighbour disputes, although a handful of these organisations did also provide workplace mediation and family mediation services, they were not providers of commercial mediation.
Out of Mediation UK regional organisations were formed such as Midlands Mediation Network who provided a voice, training and workshops to local mediation services.
Due to funding issues Mediation UK was wound up in approximately 2007, subsequently several of the community mediation services that they served over the years have also closed down due to funding issues as they were predominantly funded by local authorities and various other charitable organisations.
A handful of these organisations however do still exist as do the regional organisations such as Midlands Mediation Network whose members still meet every two to three months.
The mediation process whilst relatively new to the United Kingdom has in effect been used for centuries in different parts of the world by various cultures and religions as a way of resolving conflict.
The Bible Matthew Chapter 5 verses 21 – 26 Jesus tells us to go to our brother with whom we have a grievance and to settle it before coming to offer a gift to God.
The Quran 4:35. If you fear a breach between the couple, then appoint an arbiter from the mans family and an arbiter from the womans family. If the two [man and wife] desire to reach a settlement, God will effect reconciliation between them.
Fatimid Law, the Fatimids a Shi a Ismaili dynasty, ruled Egypt from 969 to 1171. The principles of negotiated settlement, known as sulh permeate the family law statutes of most Muslim countries, from Morocco to Bangladesh, which provide that the judge must first establish a panel to explore the possibilities of reconciliation.
Mediation has been widely used in the United States of America, Australia, China and South Africa since the 1960s; however Mediation UK as a process of resolving disputes compared to traditional litigation started to only evolve in the early 1990s.
The whole mediation UK movement started to gain momentum after the 1995 Lord Woolfs Access to Justice Report which established that mediation many of the disputes listed before the civil courts required an alternative way of being resolved, after the Access to Justice Act of 1999 and the Civil Procedure Rules of 1999, which came about as a result of the 1995 report and highlighted that the civil courts were over congested with numerous disputants who were pursuing actions over familiar issues, whereby, the legal costs involved in those actions outweighed the original compensation which disputants sought, mediation in the UK appeared to receive yet another push and to be taken more seriously and used more widely as an alternative to resolving disputes.