Mediation is a facilitated negotiation to attempt to resolve disputes without the parties getting bogged down in expensive, time consuming court proceedings. The mediator is a neutral facilitator who is there to help the parties to reach agreement if possible. The mediator is not a judge – they will not impose a solution or reach a conclusion as to the rights and wrongs of the claim. However, they will control the mediation process and the parties will be required to sign a mediation agreement which sets out the agreed rules of the negotiation. Key features of mediation:
- Mediation cannot be imposed. It can only take place with the consent of both parties. However, if one party unreasonably refuses to consent to mediation, they can be penalised, if court proceedings follow, by adverse costs orders whatever the eventual outcome of the case. So, it is almost always a good idea to agree to mediation before going to court.
- Mediation is confidential and without prejudice. If an agreement is reached as a result of mediation ( about 80% of cases referred to mediation settle at or shortly after the mediation) then the agreement is normally reduced to writing, signed by the parties and becomes a binding contractual agreement which settles the original dispute. If, however, no agreement is reached as a result of the mediation, nothing said or done in the course of the mediation can be used against any party to the dispute. It is as if the mediation had never taken place. So, there is no risk in making concessions during a mediation to try to reach an agreement. If no agreement is reached, then any such concessions are not binding and cannot be used against the person making them in subsequent court proceedings.
- The mediator is in a unique position to help the parties. Mediations can take various forms including face-to-face negotiations, telephone mediation or even on-line mediation. However, they all have one thing in common. Anything said to the mediator by one party in private is confidential between the mediator and that party. The mediator cannot and will not reveal any confidential information to the other party without the express consent of the party providing the information. So, the parties can be completely frank with the mediator in private, safe in the knowledge that nothing they want to keep private will stay private unless they expressly agree that the mediator can communicate that information to the other parties.
Andrew Isitt, who is a solicitor partner heading up the dispute resolution team is an accredited mediator having obtained accreditation from the Centre For Effective Dispute Resolution ( CEDR) in 1995. Andrew has since spent many years both as a mediator and advising and representing clients in mediations. He has been very active in the mediation environment including spending 4 years as Chair of Middlesex and Thames Valley Mediators, and being closely involved with the work of the National Mediation Providers Association who provide a mediation service to the County Courts. Here is what our clients say:
EDC Lord can help by advising you in relation to your dispute, liaising with your opponent or their solicitors, arranging access to a mediator and setting up a mediation to give you the best opportunity of resolving your dispute quickly and at less cost than would be incurred pursuing your case through the courts. For more information just click on the contact us button on this page, and we will contact you to discuss your requirements and how we can help you in more detail.