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Mediation services 2018-06-25T12:02:52+00:00

The Mediation Process

  • Step 1

    Make Enquiry

  • Step 2

    Initial no fee fact finding meeting/telephone call

  • Step 3

    Mediator to advise upon options and different mediation services

  • Step 4

    Mediation Process – Telephone or Skype mediation (1/2 day or full day mediation)

  • Step 5

    Conclusion – Successful conclusion of dispute and agreed terms of settlement

Mediation Services

Chamber Mediation recognise that commercial disputes often require speedy and pro-active action to ensure a resolution. With this in mind we offer:

A combination of the above for matters that require additional time

Mediations will be provided at venues to suit the parties

What Sort of Savings Can Be Achieved Through Mediation?

The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. Here is an example of a case. A dispute arose out of a party’s refusal to pay a final account. The matter was defended and a counterclaim submitted. The defence was that a five foot diameter pipe had not been correctly laid, causing it to distort. If remedial works were not undertaken it was alleged the pipe would eventually fail.

The counterclaim was for the remedial works which outweighed the cost of the final account. Estimates were submitted by both sides as to what they believed the legal cost would be to bring the claim to court. The combined estimates of legal costs came to £200,000. The parties opted to go to mediation at an early stage. The mediation was successful and the matter settled. The combined costs for both sides going to mediation came to £15,000. Not only was this a significant saving in terms of legal costs but also in relation to the management and witness time saved in having to attend to witness statements and attendances at Court.

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When is the Best Time to Use Mediation?

Parties can agree to go to mediation at any time before trial. Clearly, the earlier mediation is attempted, the greater the savings on costs which might be achieved. The process is designed in such a way that all sides get the best chance to put forward their respective cases and are given every opportunity to hear the position of their opponents.

A mediation’s opening session enables your lawyers to present your position. The subsequent private sessions enables the mediator to explore the strengths and weaknesses of each side’s case, thereby helping the parties to decide how best to resolve their dispute. If the matter is settled, the terms of settlement are transposed into a formal written Agreement. This Agreement is legally binding and enforceable. If the dispute is already the subject of court proceedings then a Court Order is usually prepared alongside the Agreement in order to bring those proceedings to an end.

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Mediation – v – Court

Court proceedings rely on a Judge to listen to the evidence and then make a judgment. Usually that judgment will result in one party “winning” and the losing party being ordered to pay a sum of money. At a mediation, unlike court proceedings, the parties can agree between themselves how to resolve the dispute. This is something a Judge is not be able to do.

So, for example, take a dispute involving a property developer instructing a specialist architect to design a cricket pitch. The work was undertaken by a specialist landscape contractor. Issues arose toward the end of the contract when it was discovered that the netting designed by the architect was not preventing the cricket balls from leaving the ground and thereby causing damage to neighbouring properties. The architect blamed the contractors for not placing the netting in the correct location. The property developers issued a claim in court against the architect for professional negligence and against the contractor for breach of contract. The contractor was struggling financially and the architect did not want a “black mark” against his professional indemnity insurance. If the court proceedings had continued, there was every chance that a successful claim against the contractor would not have been worth a candle as the contractor would have most likely slip into insolvency. The claim against the architect was not a guaranteed success. The matter proceeded to mediation and the dispute was resolved on the basis that the architect would work free of charge on the developer’s next project if the developer dropped their claim. This is the sort of resolution the parties can achieve in mediation. It is not something, however that a Court could order. The parties’ solution just required flexibility and a little thinking outside the box.

The benefits of trying mediation as a method of dispute resolution are now actively recognised by the Courts. Indeed, the Court may even penalise a party who has refused to participate in mediation even if that party is success in their case at trial. The risk is that a Court may not award the successful party all of their costs if it turns out that party unreasonably refused to go to mediation.

In the context of construction disputes many tend to be referred to adjudication which itself offers a swift way of having a dispute reviewed quickly (usually within 28 days). By its nature, however, an adjudication carries its own inherent risk in the same way as any form of court proceeding. An adjudication involves a legally binding decision although it can be opened up and reviewed in a subsequent court or arbitration proceedings. If engaged at an early stage, mediation can help avoid a duplication of legal costs and result in a final decision thereby avoiding the risk and costs associated with an adjudication process .

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