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Civil & Commercial Disputes

The courts place great emphasis on resolving disputes by way of mediation. Although mediation is not compulsory, the courts may penalise a party who refuses to agree to mediate even to the extent of ordering that party to pay the other party’s costs even if they win the case at trial.

The usual mediation process:

  1. The parties to the dispute jointly appoint an independent third party (the mediator) and fix a date for the mediation.
  2. Before the mediation they exchange short position statements setting out their case, with reference to an agreed bundle of relevant documents.
  3. On the day of the mediation there is usually an opening meeting chaired by the mediator with all parties, including their lawyers, at which each party sets out their case and has the chance to ‘get things off their chest’.
  4. Each party then moves to their own room and a series of separate confidential discussions takes place with the mediator who will try to find out what issues lie behind the dispute and where there may be a degree of common ground which might facilitate a settlement.
  5. In time offers to settle usually emerge from one or both sides which the mediator takes to the other side, on a without prejudice basis, when authorised to do so. In about 75% of cases settlement is reached on the day and a binding document is signed by the parties concluding the dispute. Many of the other cases settle soon afterwards, a momentum for settlement having been built up.

It is important to note that our mediators facilitate the process and help the parties to agree a solution. We don’t act as a judge or arbitrator and have no power to impose a solution on the parties, who retain full control of the process.

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