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A more effective alternative to resolve your dispute



Introduction

If you’ve managed to get into a disagreement with someone, whether that’s in connection with a commercial contract, a landlord and tenant relationship, or even a dispute over property ownership, you might find yourself engaging in some form of dispute resolution with the other side in order to resolve matters.

Traditionally the most common form of dispute resolution is traditional litigation through the Courts which, depending on the nature of the dispute and the parties involved, might include the County Court, the High Court or even an employment tribunal and be expensive, slow and stressful.

However, commercial mediation provides a relatively new form of alternative dispute resolution and is fast gaining momentum in the UK as more and more individuals and organisations come to see its benefits over traditional litigation.

What is commercial mediation?

Through the aid of a neutral third party whose whole purpose is to be neutral deal-broker, both parties seek to reach a mutually acceptable compromise in relation to their dispute, thereby resolving matters to everyone’s satisfaction and avoiding litigation.

Mediation normally takes place over one day, with the mediator working with both parties, either together or separately, helping them achieve a negotiated settlement.

The advantages of mediation

The reason for the growing popularity with mediation can be attributed to its various advantages over litigation. These include:

1. Affordability

Traditional litigation through the courts is generally very expensive, with the overall cost also highly unpredictable. The loser usually bears his own costs and a substantial part of the other party’s costs. The cost of mediation however is likely to be far cheaper making it more affordable for parties and, since any mediation costs are agreed at the outset, parties are also better placed to gauge their exposure before embarking on the process.

2. Speed

With the various budget cuts to court services over the recent years, it’s now taking longer than ever for litigated cases to reach trial. In comparison mediation can be arranged to suit the parties and can often be set up in a matter of days.
 
3. Greater control

With litigation, you either win or you lose.  There is no middle ground.  The outcome is based on a judge making an arbitrary ruling after hearing the case. This is one of the inherent dangers with litigation, in that you can never be certain who will win. With commercial mediation, however, as the parties settle by agreement, they have much more control and are never forced to accept an outcome they’re not happy with.  They can also agree to different facets outside of a Judge’s remit, such as staged payments or even an on-going trading relationship.

4. Confidential 

With some exceptions, most court rulings are public record. That means anyone can find details of those cases you’ve litigated, including the nature of the dispute and any court ruling. By comparison meditation is entirely confidential, meaning anything discussed or revealed as part of the mediation process cannot then be revealed or relied upon later on. Similarly as part of any settlement, the terms of any deal can also be kept confidential.
 
5. Preserves relationships

By its very nature litigation is adversarial; forcing one party against the other. This can destroy the relationship between those parties which can be particularly problematic in those cases involving family members or where parties need to continue to work together afterwards. With mediation however, as parties need to work together in finding a resolution, the process is quicker and much more collaborative and so, as a consequence, it can be more effective in preserving relationships long term.

6. Success rate

And finally, the biggest driving force behind mediation is its success rate. Last year alone the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) found an aggregate success rate of 89% for mediated cases. Parties can therefore be relatively confident that by embarking on mediation, they’ll be able to settle their differences and resolve their dispute.

Summary

So if you’ve found yourself embroiled in a dispute that needs resolving, you may want to consider mediation. It just might be your best option. 

If you would like to find out more or need any assistance please give us a call on 01202 888 300 or email us. We’d be happy to help.


Article Date: 17/07/2019

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