We entered the mediation process with no experience and a lot of trepidation. The guidance and support we received from David and his colleagues both prior to the event and throughout the mediation was excellent, both in the advice we were offered and the guidance through the process. He was able to help us make the right decisions without making the decision for us, which we found both helpful and empowering – Paul Taylor, Great Park Street Methodist Church
The legal process can be an expensive one, particularly if a claim is heavily defended.
Mediation is increasingly seen by many clients as an effective alternative to settling a dispute, without having to resort to issuing court proceedings. It gives the parties flexibility to discuss a wider range of issues and options rather than the narrow confines of a legal claim.
Parties are free to agree the terms of any settlement without the risk of a Judge imposing a settlement or having to follow the strict deadlines and demands of Court directions.
Mediation is encouraged by the Courts as set out in the Practice Direction on Pre Action Conduct. If a party remains silent on the issue of mediation, or refuses to participate, the Court could consider imposing a sanction on that party and order it to pay additional costs.
In the 2014 case of Lynn v Borneos LLP T/A Borneo Linnells His Honour Judge Cooke was very clear that a refusal or failure to engage in mediation is something which is, in principle unreasonable. He went on to say:
There is an advantage, which is recognised in policy terms by the court, in encouraging the parties to explore the possibility of settlement at a mediation. The sanction for not doing so is something which is in the discretion of the court.
In that case the refusal to engage in mediation resulted in the Court reducing the winning party’s claim for costs by 40%.
The message is clear. All your opponent needs to show, if you have unreasonably refused mediation, is that “opportunity to save costs” has been lost and a significant reduction can be made, even to a successful party’s costs.
Anything discussed at a mediation is confidential and cannot be referred to in subsequent court proceedings.
Mediation can be less time consuming than becoming embroiled in a lengthy legal dispute and considerably less expensive than the costs of taking a matter to trial. Given the risks incurred in any legal claim it is commercially attractive to many businesses who consider that a mediated settlement places less demands on staff and allows the firm to channel its efforts and resources into other, more productive activities.
Mediation may have (incorrectly) been seen by some as a sign of weakness but this attitude is changing in the fast paced modern business environment where time is money.
At Wilson Browne we have a number of Partners who have already helped clients to reach agreements in their disputes through mediation and with offices across Northamptonshire and Leicestershire in Northampton, Kettering, Corby, Higham Ferrers, Wellingborough and Leicester we can meet you at a location convenient to you.
The first chat is always free so call us on 0800 088 6004.