Speak to our friendly staff directly  +44 (0)20 7242 2523

A leading set specialising in commercial, construction, insurance and property law

Mediation

Mediation is the most frequently used form of ADR in the United Kingdom. Its effectiveness depends on the skills of the mediator chosen and the tactical awareness and flexibility of the parties and their legal teams.

As well as providing excellent mediation advocacy and advisory services for clients attending or preparing for mediations, we also have a number of accredited mediators who are available to conduct mediations in their specialist areas of practice. They are also happy to provide combined mediation/evaluations in which, as well as facilitating progress towards a mutually agreed settlement, the mediator/evaluator gives his or her specialist view of the strengths and weaknesses of a particular point, or the case as a whole.

Advocates in Mediation

Our commercial, insurance, property, family and public law  barristers are experienced mediation advocates.  In a mediation, the barrister plays an integral role in the team.  We are keen to ensure that you are placed in as strong a negotiating position as possible and are equipped with the information and advice you need to make your decisions.

Mediation Q & A

  • What are the advantages of mediation over a court hearing?

    Mediation is now established as an essential part of the litigation process. Even when cases do not settle at mediation, if carried out in the right way and at the right time, the process is a very useful way of exploring the strengths and vulnerabilities of a case before committing to the costs and risks of a trial. For that reason, a good time to mediate is often after disclosure but before witness statements have been exchanged, or in a professional negligence case where documents have been disclosed at the end of the protocol period.

    The industry average for settlement at mediation is about 75-80%, (this figure is higher if you include cases that settle shortly after mediation). The most satisfying result in mediation is where parties achieve a compromise which the courts cannot impose and which enables them to go on working or doing business together. Such a solution is particularly helpful in property disputes (a large area of practice) where the parties may have a continuing relationship. More often, a solution involves all parties moving out of their comfort zone and recognising that cutting their losses to bring an end to an unsought and damaging dispute is the best way of moving on.

    • It can be arranged quickly.
    • It is confidential.
    • The parties decide whether to settle and on what terms.
    • A settlement can include solutions the parties want even though the court could not impose them.
  • How is a mediation arranged?

    Once the parties have agreed to go down the mediation route, they need to find and agree on a mediator, and a date and location for the mediation. Hardwicke offers mediation facilities, which can be hired.

    The parties and the mediator will sign a mediation agreement.

  • How long does a mediation typically last?

    Mediations are usually booked for one day, for example from 9am or 10am until 5pm. However, they can go on for as long as the parties need to make progress - some mediations can go on well into the evening.

  • Where is a mediation held?

    Wherever the parties agree, provided three rooms can be made available on the appointed date. We offer discreet rooms with WiFi for mediation. All our rooms have natural light and air conditioning. They can be available throughout the evening or even the night if required.

    For more information on our mediation facilities, please visit our Room Hire page.

  • What are the steps in the mediation process?

    It is worth remembering that unless and until a settlement agreement is signed, everything that is said or done for the purpose of mediation is without prejudice. In addition everything you tell the mediator is confidential to him or her unless and until you say otherwise.

    Stage 1: Preparation

    As with any step in a dispute resolution process, proper preparation is the key to success in mediation. Preparation means that thinking in advance about the evidence you need to explain your client’s case to your opponent, the key people who should attend the mediation, and the preparation of a position statement which explains your case and the issues as you see them. You should also expect the mediator to have a confidential conversation with you in advance of the mediation day.

    Stage 2: Initial private meetings

    At the beginning of the day the mediator will want to meet you and your client in private to discuss the process, get the agreements signed, and what your client hopes and expect from the day. Everything discussed at these private sessions is confidential unless and until the mediator is asked to take a message or provide information to the other parties.

    Stage 3: Plenary session

    It is essential part of any mediation that the parties meet together at least once to tell each other, face to face, how they see the case and what they want from the process. This is often an uncomfortable process but it is important to get the dispute and the issues out in to the open. A failure to do so will lead to problems later on. It is at this point that mediation advocacy becomes critical: remember, you are not trying to persuade the mediator about your case, you are trying to persuade your opponent’s client.

    Stage 4: Exploration

    The next stage is exploration of the issues in private meetings, or sometimes bilateral meetings (e.g. expert and expert). This stage is important to each party can evaluate for itself the strength and weakness of its case on the various issues. It also gives the mediator an opportunity to consider possible routes to settlement. This stage moves naturally into:

    Stage 5: Negotiations

    Negotiation is the stage that everyone has been waiting for, and is almost always the most taxing. It is part of the culture of negotiation in this country that no-one will ever make their best bid first, and therefore the process of reaching settlement will typically involve four or more rounds of offers and counter-offers before the ‘zone of settlement’ is reached. Getting to this point is frustrating and where tempers get frayed. You are bound during this process to think or tell the mediator that the other party cannot be serious and that this has all been a waste of time. Difficult though it is to believe, they are probably saying the same of you. But it is all worth it since it leads to:

    Stage 6: Settlement

    An agreement in principle on the terms needed to resolve the dispute, which can then be reduced to writing and signed at which point the dispute is over.

Who we act for

  • Businesses
  • Individuals
  • Insurers
  • International clients
  • Professional bodies
  • Public bodies including local authorities and charities

Contact us

If you need any assistance in any of these areas, please contact a member of our Practice Management Team on +44 (0)20 7242 2523 or e-mail PracticeManagementTeam@hardwicke.co.uk.

Our Mediators

QCs

Barristers

Consultants