At TM Law, we understand that clients may want their “day in court” where the facts of the case will be laid out, judgement will be made, and they will hopefully be awarded what is due to them. If that is their wish, then we are always happy to oblige as it’s something we enjoy doing and we are also particularly good at. However, we do always take a moment to help our clients understand that litigation may not necessarily be the right solution for them, and an alternative route does exist.
What are the alternatives?
Mediation is now very widely used and recommended and at TM Law we have taken part in over 200 mediations now with a success rate of settlement of the dispute at around 90%.
So if you have a legal dispute that you do not want to run on for years and years and you do not want to spend and risk tens of thousands of pounds in legal fees Mediation is something you should discuss with us.
What are its advantages over litigation?
Speed, it can be arranged and take place within weeks rather than years. Cost – the cost is probably a tenth of what it would cost to litigate. Informality- it is done in a relaxed setting with confrontation avoided by the mediator. Certainty- If a settlement is reached then a binding agreement is signed at the mediation and the matter is then settled.
So how does Mediation work?
The parties have to agree to mediation first. Then a mediator has to be agreed that is the person who will actually conduct the mediation. Here at TM Law we have a raft of mediators that are suitable for all kinds of different disputes to suggest to you. Once that has been agreed the mediator is sent some papers and brief statement setting out the parties position.
The Mediation itself
On a given day at the venue that has been agreed the parties turn up usually their solicitors and each party is allocated their own private room to be in and to discuss matters in private and if necessary stay away from the other party. The mediator has their own room which the parties sometimes meet in right at the start to introduce themselves and then go back to their own rooms. After that the mediator spends their time going from one party to the other trying to assist them in bridging the gap between them and testing each party as to how strong they think their case is.
What doesn’t the mediator do?
The mediators job is not to impose a decision on the parties. Any settlement that is reached is entirely voluntary and if no agreement is reached then nothing said or produced in the mediation can be used in court if the matter goes to court so there is very little risk in trying to resolve a dispute by mediation.
What type of dispute is appropriate for mediation?
Nearly all types of dispute can be the subject of a mediation. Anything from Neighbour or boundary disputes to commercial disputes and personal injury claims are suitable.
What do I need to have in mind if I go to mediation?
The single most important thing to have in mind is to keep an open mind as to what any settlement may be. If you go to a mediation with a pre-conceived idea as to what you want and wont budge from that it makes any proposed settlement more unlikely.
Of course, it is important to remember that litigation and mediation aim to achieve somewhat different outcomes. Litigation may ultimately prove you right, and get you what you deserve, but you can pay a heavy price in terms of time, stress, and money to achieve it. Mediation, on the other hand, aims to resolve a dispute, but you may have to compromise, and accept an outcome which is not necessarily ideal, but is something you can live with, and allows you to quickly move on.
TM Law Ltd is a member of the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the regulatory body for solicitors in England and Wales.