Mediation is a voluntary non-binding “without prejudice” method of resolving disputes. In short, the parties sit down with a trained mediator to try and narrow the issues with a view to reaching a settlement.
Mediation should be considered in the following situations:
- Where negotiations have failed (perhaps where both parties have become too entrenched) with the result that both parties are reticent about discussing settlement as it might make their position look weak, especially where they are already litigating.
- Disputes can often be the result of poor communication, a breakdown in trust or a polarisation of views. If parties end up litigating then this is likely to damage the relationship irretrievably. Mediation can resolve any misunderstandings, improve communication and hopefully preserve any on-going business relationship.
- A day’s mediation will be a fraction of the cost when compared to months of litigation between the parties.
- A successful mediated solution usually means that the parties themselves have been responsible for controlling the outcome rather than having it imposed by a Court. This enhances the feeling of a “win-win” solution for both parties.
Mediated disputes can be key where parties are keen to preserve (or rebuild) working relationships, and minimise any disruption in the workplace, particularly if it concerns an employment related dispute. It can also be beneficial in circumstances where there are subsidiary issues to be resolved other than just a claim for compensation by one of both parties.
There are well established alternative dispute resolution providers within the UK including, CEDR, and the ADR Group. Alternatively, there are a small body of highly experienced individuals acting as trained mediators, or some barristers, including retired judges.