What is it?
There are many types of ADR but the most popular is Mediation. In its standard form a “mediator”, who is essentially a “go-between”, is appointed. He brings the parties (and usually their lawyers) together under one roof and goes from one to the other in an effort to get them to come to a compromise. He has no power to impose a settlement but works by helping each party to understand the other’s viewpoint and by persuasion. A typical mediation takes about one day.
What are its advantages?
- It recognises that many disputes end up being compromised anyway and Mediation tries to bring the parties to that point at an early stage of the claim. This can avoid the escalation in legal costs (thus raising the stakes) and the delays that conventional litigation involves.
- It brings about a settlement in about 80% of cases in which it is used.
- It is a good tool if the parties want to preserve a trading relationship. It can have outcomes other than the straightforward payment of money.
- Because settlement generally comes about early on, it cuts down on management time involved in claims.
What are its disadvantages?
- The parties have to pay the mediator, so it is not generally suitable for small-value disputes, although some courts now offer time-limited mediation at a lower fee.
- Often neither party feels entirely satisfied with the outcome. This is because compromise is the name of the game.
- It is not suitable where you have a particularly strong case, or perhaps where you are likely to get a court to give you summary judgment.
- Terry Maylin of TM Law has had a great deal of success in resolving disputes with particularly mediation which brought to an end disputes that had been going on for some time and seemed to be unresolvable!