Beer advocaten

Here’s why I am a fan of mediation

16 March 2023 | Laura-Jean van de Ven

Here’s why I am a fan of mediation

Last month, I spoke at a conference for young European personal injury lawyers (PEOPIL). One of the topics we discussed was mediation. I was surprised to hear that mediation is virtually not used in personal injury cases in countries around us, for example in England.

I’m a fan of mediation. I see many benefits of getting parties in one room, and talking to each other. Victims often do not feel heard or taken seriously in a personal injury case. An insurer does not always have a good view of a victim. I find that in personal injury cases, there is often a lack of mutual understanding. Communication does not always run smoothly either.

Mediation can be a suitable means to raise communication to a higher level, and to reach a solution together. There is room for both the victim's emotions and the insurer's interests. Especially in long-term personal injury cases, often cases in which the causal link between the accident and the victim's complaints is disputed, mediation can be a solution.

Mediation is based on voluntariness and confidentiality. You can’t force a party to participate in mediation by going to court. What is discussed during mediation is confidential and does not leave the mediation room. The mediator has an important role as a process facilitator, but is not a judge. It is the parties themselves who put forward the solution to the dispute.

But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, of course. A mediation usually takes a (long) day and can be exhausting and draining. Emotions can run high. At around three o'clock in the afternoon during a mediation, I often wonder how on earth we will reach a solution, because the positions of both parties are/seem to be too far apart.

And in rare occasions it’s not possible to reach a solution after mediation. But then at least there has been real contact between my client and the insurer, which in itself is beneficial for both parties.

My colleagues August Van and Mirella Hartman are registered mediators. I see an important role for the use of mediation in personal injury cases in the Netherlands. And hopefully, in time, our Brexit friends will also warm to the idea of mediation in personal injury cases.

Amsterdam, 16 March 2023


Should you have any questions about this blog, please contact the author Laura-Jean van de Ven