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Arguments and disputes will arise and when they do, you may think that going to court is your only option, however, mediation can provide an effective alternative to help you resolve your case.

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What is mediation?

Mediation is a process that uses a neutral third party (known as a mediator) to facilitate two parties in finding a way to resolve any issues they may have, at work or elsewhere, without having to go to court. The process is most often used during workplace disputes, however, it can also be used as an alternative form of dispute resolution for a wide variety of matters.

Should you use a solicitor for your mediation?

Anyone can be a mediator, however, by choosing a solicitor as a mediator you will benefit from their extensive legal knowledge and expertise. During the mediation process, our solicitors will be able to share valuable information relating to legal processes due to their vast experience and potentially help both parties identify a suitable resolution quicker compared to a mediator with no prior legal experience.

However, it must be noted that due to the fact that mediators must remain neutral, they will not be able to offer advice to either party, they must simply present facts and information.

What are the benefits of mediation?

The aim of mediation, whether it be in the workplace, during divorce or any other form of dispute, is to enable you to resolve your case without having to go to court. This can result in a range of benefits which includes:

  • Giving you more control (you will be jointly responsible for the outcome - whereas a judge will make the decision in court)
  • Arriving at a solution quicker
  • Legal fees costing less than going to court
  • Taking less time to resolve your dispute
  • Being confidential
  • Helping you maintain your relationship and avoid it completely breaking down due to the stress of a court battle

The process is also completely voluntary, with both parties having to agree to take part in the process.

When can mediation be used?

One of the key reasons mediation can be effective is its versatility. It is a mechanism that can be used for a wide range of cases including:

  • Workplace disputes
  • Professional negligence
  • Personal injury
  • Breach of contract
  • Money disputes
  • Bankruptcy
  • Real estate disputes including land or property disputes and landlord and tenant disputes
  • Intellectual property disputes

What can a mediator do?

A mediator should not be confused with an advisor. As part of their role as a mediator, our solicitors will have clear responsibilities as to what they can and cannot do.

During the mediation process a mediator can/will:

  • Meet both parties, either individually or together (whichever you are most comfortable with)
  • Listen to the argument put forward by both sides
  • Outline the procedures and processes they intend to use during the mediation process

However, mediators will not / cannot:

  • Represent either party in court
  • Decide who is right or wrong
  • Create a legally binding document

Can you refuse to do mediation?

For most disputes, you do not have to take part in mediation as the process is voluntary.

What happens during the mediation process?

Parties to the process may be required to sit in separate rooms for part or all of the mediation process. The mediator will guide the process but is not a decision maker. The mediator will gauge when it might be useful to get the parties together and propose this.

There is no pressure at all during a mediation process. Parties should go into the process with an open mind. They should sit comfortably and enjoy regular refreshment and only reach agreement where they feel comfortable to do so. A lot of the time with mediations it’s about thinking outside the box and reaching an amicable position both parties can live with rather than anyone being a winner or loser in the process.

Key Contacts

Nick Clarke

Nick Clarke

Senior Partner | Head of Dispute Resolution

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David Harries

David Harries

Partner | Head of Planning, Environmental, Energy and Regulatory

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Helen Watson

Helen Watson

Partner | Head of Employment Law

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