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Mediation

Mediation:

You don't always have to go to court....

If you always thought that disputes could only ever be resolved by going to court then you may be interested to learn that there is now another way. Mediation is a way of resolving disputes to the satisfaction of everyone involved without having to go to court.

We've tried to pull out answers to all the common questions people have about mediation - please see below.

Russell Jones is our trained Mediator. To contact Russell to talk about possible mediation Click here

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a way of resolving disputes to the satisfaction of everyone involved without the need of going to court. A Mediator is impartial and helps parties achieve mutually beneficial resolutions. Here are some more important facts about mediation and mediators.

Mediations can also be beneficial to parties even if to court proceedings have started. The Court action can be halted whilst mediation takes place. If you would like more information about staying an action for mediation you should contact your solicitor or the court at which the action is proceeding.

The parties, rather than the mediator, decide on the terms of the settlement and it is therefore essential that all parties wish to resolve the dispute. The process is completely voluntary so a party cannot be forced to take part in a mediation and can choose to withdraw from the process at any time. If you agree to mediate but are unable to reach a settlement you can still go to court.

Mediators avoid taking sides, making judgements or giving guidance. They are simply responsible for developing effective communications and building consensus between the parties. Their aim is to help the parties find a mutually agreeable solution to the problem.

Once a settlement has been reached a mediation agreement can be drawn up by the parties themselves, in the words that they choose.

Generally only agreements that relate to disputes already subject to Court proceedings can be enforced. The Court charges for this and there is no guarantee that the enforcement will be effective. In practise however, parties tend to keep to the mediation agreement because they have prepared the terms themselves.

Mediations are completely confidential and the information discussed within them cannot be used in Court or in any other legal action issued at a later date.

Why try Mediation?

Because Mediation:
  • • is confidential
  • • is unbiased
  • • is voluntary
  • • encourages disputes to settle at and early stage
  • • puts you in control
  • • is less stressful than going to Court
  • • Is likely to be cheaper than going to Court
  • • could resolve your dispute quicker than going to Court
  • • is less formal than a trial by a judge

What type of disputes are suitable?

Commercial Disputes
It can cover most different types of business, including construction, corporate finance, insurance, aviation, oil & gas, information technology, maritime and shipping, transport, property and real estate, publishing etc. Within any of these business it can cover most types of disputes, including the following:-
  • • Intellectual property (i.e. copyright etc)
  • • Corporate finance
  • • Partnership and shareholder disputes
  • • Leasing and supply contracts
  • • Environmental claims
  • • Franchises

Civil disputes
As well as commercial disputes, mediation can also cover private disagreements - within communities, between individuals or between individuals and organisations (public and private sector) - such as:-
  • • Boundary disputes
  • • Neighbour disputes
  • • Clinical and medical negligence
  • • Landlord and tenant
  • • Personal injury
  • • Libel and defamation

How does it work?

Once a mediator has been appointed they will contact the parties to arrange a suitable time and venue for the mediation meeting.

If a claim regarding the dispute has been issued at Court you must at this stage inform the Court, in writing, that the dispute is going to be mediated.

At the agreed place and time all parties will meet. The mediator will usually speak to all parties together to go through the process.

Parties will then split off into separate rooms so that the mediator can speak on a one to one basis with the parties.

During the mediation process, the mediator will be looking for common ground amongst the parties and will go back and forth between them discussing offers and proposals until an agreement has been reached.

Once an agreement has been reached a mediation agreement can be drawn up and signed by all parties.

How does it work?

Once a mediator has been appointed they will contact the parties to arrange a suitable time and venue for the mediation meeting.

If a claim regarding the dispute has been issued at Court you must at this stage inform the Court, in writing, that the dispute is going to be mediated.

At the agreed place and time all parties will meet. The mediator will usually speak to all parties together to go through the process.

Parties will then split off into separate rooms so that the mediator can speak on a one to one basis with the parties.

During the mediation process, the mediator will be looking for common ground amongst the parties and will go back and forth between them discussing offers and proposals until an agreement has been reached.

Once an agreement has been reached a mediation agreement can be drawn up and signed by all parties.

What does it cost?

The fees charged by the Mediator will be fixed in before the mediation, and will be agreed in accordance with the amount in dispute.

Mediation should be accessible to all claims of all sizes.

The amount in dispute will be calculated as the value of the claim (or any counterclaim if greater). If during the mediation is becomes apparent that the amount in dispute is higher that the amount initially notified then we reserve the right to invoice the relevant party(ies) for the additional mediation fee.

The fees will be based on either a half day (4 hours) or full day (8 hours) mediation, but if the parties wish to extend the mediation as they feel a settlement is possible that day, then an hourly rate can be applied to that extra time.

The fees are payable in advance (80%) and the balance payable after the mediation whether a settlement is achieved or not.

Additional fees may be needed for suitable premises, if the parties cannot meet at the mediator's premises. These premises can be arranged by the parties or by the Mediator but must be neutral to both parties.

What are the possible outcomes?

Disputes can be resolved in a number of ways and all parties must be in agreement on the settlement.

Possible outcomes could include:-:
  • • paying compensation
  • • ending a partnership or company dispute
  • • a refund
  • • an apology
  • • an explanation
  • • replacement goods/services
  • • a change in policy and/or behaviour

The mediator makes no decisions as to the type or value of the settlement - the parties are solely responsible for the outcomes. If your dispute has already been issued at Court, you must inform the judge that an agreement has been reached.

What if we can't agree on an outcome?

Mediation is not suitable for every dispute, but it can still help settle some of the issues.

If your dispute has already been issued at Court, you must inform the judge that no agreement has been reached and the Court process will then continue.