It is no hidden fact that litigation is expensive, time-consuming and potentially risky. Certainly, the recent substantial increases in court fees for civil claims over £10,000 now presents an even bigger hurdle for those looking to resolve disputes through the courts. For these reasons, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) has become an attractive option for clients.
ADR is the collective name for methods used to resolve disputes outside of the courtroom. One such method is mediation. Mediation is the process whereby an independent third party (the mediator) helps both parties to reach a solution, which is acceptable to both of them.
How does mediation work?
The mediator is jointly appointed by both parties. Prior to the mediation, each party’s solicitor has the opportunity to privately discuss the case with the mediator and present their client’s position.
On the day of mediation, three rooms are booked. Each party is allocated their own room for discussions and the third room is used as a central room, if parties want face-to-face discussions. During the mediation, the mediator sits with each party separately to discuss their case, communicates any questions and issues between the parties and also puts forward any settlement offers on behalf of each party. If a settlement is agreed, it is documented in a written agreement which is legally binding on both parties, at the end of the mediation.
Concerns clients tend to have about mediation:
– Who can you bring? Solicitor, Counsel, witnesses etc. provided opponent agrees.
– Costs? Cheaper than litigation. Costs are normally shared equally between the parties.
– Confidentiality? Mediation is a confidential process. Any matters discussed during the mediation cannot be used by parties at a later stage in the case.
– Requirement to settle? No. The purpose of mediation is to better understand your opponent’s case. Both parties are free to walk away if a settlement cannot be reached.
– Chances of success? Depends on case, parties and the mediator but good results achievable.
Foskett Marr Gadsby & Head LLP regularly assist clients with mediation matters. For further advice, please contact Richard Gordon at our Loughton office on 01992 578 642.