by providing more information to litigants through leaflets, videos, telephone helplines and information technology. Court staff will provide information and help to litigants on how to progress their cases, and there will be ongoing monitoring and research on litigant’s needs.889 Since then the Lord Chancellor’s Department published a comprehensive booklet in plain English, Resolving Disputes Without Going To Court.
Response of the Law Society
8.32The English Law Society conceded that it may be legitimate to require parties to consider mediation before using the courts where mediation can be justified on the ground of cost effectiveness and does not undermine public confidence.890 The Law Society accepted that “the state’s obligation to provide an authoritative means of resolving disputes need not imply unrestricted access to the courts for all disputes.”891 However, any restriction must apply to all potential litigants not just to those who are legally aided. This ensures equal access to justice and avoids alternative schemes degenerating into second rate alternatives used only by the poor.892 However, to ensure fairness, which requires equal access and choice, compulsory mediation is unacceptable.893
889 Further information is available on the Internet, at http://www.open.gov.uk/lcd/civil/final/overview.htm
890 Making Justice Work, Law Society submission to the Lord Chancellor’s Department’s fundamental review of expenditure on civil litigation and legal aid, (June 1994), Paragraph 2.11.
891 Ibid at paragraph 3.27.
892 Ibid at paragraph 3.28.
893 Ibid at paragraph 2.12.