Mediation - "truly astonishing"
The IPKat saw this on IBC's ‘Mediation of IP Disputes’ conference today. Judge Fysh (Patents County Court) and Professor Sir Hugh Laddie (formerly senior Judge of the Patents Court, now IP professor at UCL) highlighted the need for IP-based businesses, lawyers and judges to know more about mediation. Judge Fysh is reported as saying:
“It’s truly astonishing to think of how many people don't use or don't know what mediation is, especially when mediation is often a better option than going to court. I am firmly for mediation and I throw it under the noses of litigators but unfortunately I can't do any more than that”.Sir Hugh is reported as concurring with this sentiment:
“I'm not sure that the judge’s hearts are in it when it comes to mediation. There is a lot of ignorance among judges at the UK Patents Court".Sir Hugh also suggested sending the judges on a training course where they could improve their knowledge of mediation.
The IPKat spots a conflict of interest here between IBC's courses and those of UCL. Presumably, if there's any problem, they won't mind going to mediation. Merpel wonders whether the ignorance among judges in the Patents Court is a consequence of Sir Hugh having left it: her own feeling is that both judges and IP lawyers know a considerable amount about mediation, which is precisely why it's difficult to get the parties to agree to it.
Mediation works particularly well simply because it only has to work in those self-selected cases where the parties opt for it. The well-informed and conspicuously non-ignorant Lord Justice Jacob in Reed Executive Plc & Anor v Reed Business Information Ltd & Ors (No.2)  EWCA Civ 887 made it quite plain that we have to accept that mediation is not for everyone, when he chose not to punish with costs a party that refused to go to mediation in a case where most people who were not the defendant would probably have been quite pleased to opt for mediation.
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