However there are alternatives to court proceedings known as ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution). One of these is mediation, which offers a far less stressful and confrontational experience, avoids public exposure in court and reduces delay. It can be far more time and cost effective and offers the realistic prospect of success by informal negotiation through an independent trained mediator.
As Lord Justice Ward once said, “mediation has a canny knack of transforming the intractable into the possible”.
How do you set out about mediation? With the agreement of all involved in the conflict you can decide whether, where and when to go ahead with mediation and who the mediator should be. The role of the mediator is to help the participants without being judgemental and to identify areas where agreement or compromise can be reached. The mediator’s role is not to advise or judge, but by moving between the parties the mediator can help to reach a settlement which those involved in the conflict can live with.
What will it cost? Instead of the open ended legal fees which may be involved in taking court proceedings, the fee of the mediator is agreed in advance so you will know what it is going to cost and how that cost will be split between the participants.
According to the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution more than 75% of cases settle on the day of mediation or shortly afterwards. From my own experiences both as a mediator and in acting for those involved in resolving conflict I would strongly recommend that you consider mediation with your legal adviser when involved in trying to resolve conflict.
Julian Cann - Solicitor and Mediator
Legal advice may vary with the circumstances of each case - be sure to take your solicitor’s advice.