Mediation can save you a lot of time and money if you are involved in a dispute.
It is not a solution to every problem, but it is a process that puts back control of the facts of the argument with the parties, and tries to find a way to solve it. It is based on discussion, rather than allowing a judge or arbitrator to make the decision for you.
How does it work? In very simple terms, a mediator is a neutral facilitator. He or she can be from any walk of life, but with the common factor of having been trained and accredited by one of the accredited bodies. There are a number of ways to conduct the proceedings, and it can be tailored to each dispute, and that in itself is one of its qualities.
Albert Square Mediation
Anthony Wooding is a mediator with ASM Mediation:
Please note that Anthony cannot act as mediator in a case that Kerseys are already instructed in professionally for one party, although other ASM mediators can. To find out more about Anthony’s work with ASM Mediation, click here to download the flyer:
The mediator does not judge and has no power to impose a settlement. His role is to listen and question and gain information until he can find a place within the facts that there may be a solution that can be gently offered to each side. It may include other things than the payment of money. In fact, it can include just about anything that the parties would wish for. That can include rearranging future working relationships, resolving other issues at the same time, working through a project to its natural conclusion or parting on better terms.
It can be set up by agreement in a matter of weeks. It can then be over in a matter of days and the cost saving, over more extended forms of dispute resolution, can be significant.
The role of mediation has been established in various areas for a while. The requirement to consider family mediation is now a part of the court process in every case. Neighbourhood schemes for resolving neighbour disputes and social issues are small but significant.
Workplace mediation is relatively new, but there have been recent Government calls for reforms in employment law and its position within this can only strengthen.
As a process it stands alongside arbitration, adjudication and the formal court process. It does not replace them but as a tool in the box of dispute resolution, it is invaluable.
We can assist in your understanding of the process: how you can use it and if you can make it part of your business processes.
We can also assist in setting up mediation for our clients. We have knowledge of experienced mediators with a proven track record of solving complicated and emotive disputes.
Or we can mediate your dispute for you. Anthony Wooding is an accredited civil mediator of many years experience.
What is Mediation? FAQ
Kerseys solicitors offer legal services to see you through from the cradle to grave. Their team of legal experts can help you with the legal side of renting or buying a house, documentation to protect you in your relationship, and the legal process of separation if unfortunately it doesn’t work out. They can also sort out wills and probates for the family and loved ones you leave behind.
Commercially, they help make sure businesses are legally protected from start up to exit. And when life does not go smoothly, they are at hand to deal with disputes through litigation or a lesser known alternative, mediation.
Here managing partner and civil mediator Anthony Wooding explains the benefits of mediation.
Mediation vs Court
Mediation is a way of resolving disputes without the need to go to court. It involves an independent third party, a mediator, who helps both sides come to an agreement.
It is an assisted, confidential negotiation, which enables people to find their own solution.
Mediation gives you more control than going through a court or an arbitrator, which will impose a third solution. Through mediation you will have an input and can at least partially control the outcome.
The main principles are that it is voluntary, impartial, confidential and decision making lies with the concerned parties.
Who can act as mediator?
Lay practitioners may be involved, but you may wish to use a professional, neutral party. Disputes can become very heated, even commercial ones, and it is beneficial to have someone experienced in negotiation at your side.
Lawyers negotiate all the time, so they have learned how to exchange points effectively. They can also establish a case and build up rapport.
When can it be used?
Mediation is a flexible process that can be used to settle disputes in a whole range of situations. It can include consumer disputes, divorce, consumer disputes and business partnership disputes.
It shouldn’t be used when there’s a power imbalance, such as in the case of domestic violence. This is because you cannot be sure that there is true agreement when one party may be under threat from the other as to what may happen to them after the mediation.
What are the benefits of using mediation?
Courts are inevitably expensive, particularly when you take into account witness statements, an exchange of documents, compiling experts’ reports etc . It can also take 12 to 18 months to get to trial.
With mediation, it is likely parties could reach an agreement in at least half the time and half the cost. As legal aid has largely been removed from family law, it is even more important nowadays to keep legal costs down.
It can also enable parties to protect their confidentiality. For example, Nigella Lawson’s and Charles Saatchi’s divorce was very public, but this could have been avoided through mediation.
It can help protect your assets in the long run. Business partners, for example, could risk losing a business worth hundreds of thousands of pounds over a dispute. But with mediation, both parties can stake their claim and an agreement can be reached which will protect the future of the business.
What is the role of the mediator?
Mediators help parties reach a solution which is agreeable to those concerned. Mediators avoid taking sides, making judgements or giving guidance.
How does mediation work?
The parties establish their cases and sign a confidentiality agreement.
In a nutshell, the parties may be based in separate rooms within a building and the mediator may go backwards and forwards several times to pass on each sides’ points.
The mediator will look at the best alternative to negotiated agreement (batna). This means you look at the best you could get in court, if you don’t get the result you want. They will also look at the worst alternative to negotiated agreement (watna).
The cost is usually split between the concerned parties.
What if the parties cannot reach an agreement?
Mediation is a voluntary process and will only take place if both parties agree. It is a confidential process where the terms of discussion are not disclosed to any party outside the mediation hearing.
They can still go to court but details about what went on at the mediation may not be disclosed or used, except perhaps if there is later a dispute as to whether an agreement was reached or not.
Mediation has been compared to counselling. What are your thoughts on that?
This is a common misconception but mediation is definitely not counselling. Mediation involves engagement with all parties in a confidential manner, but it does not look at the broader concept of people’s wellbeing.
Can you give examples of where mediation has been successful?
It is difficult to give public examples as it is a confidential process. However, I know from my own experience that parties involved in mediation are often satisfied because it’s relatively speedy, cost effective and they get to have a voice in the outcome.
Can you give examples of where it could have been used?
Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi’s divorce went through the courts and was very public. It led to public scrutiny about their private lives and ultimately Nigella was stopped from boarding a flight to the United States after confessing in court to taking drugs last year.
I’m not saying you can mediate criminal offences, but that there are so many unforeseeable consequences of having a public split or dispute – be it a family or commercial matter.
Mediation means people can have a say in the final decision without having to air their dirty laundry in public.
How do you find a mediator?
A great reference source for mediation is the clerksroom, where you can find listed, qualified mediators. It’s worth checking their credentials and history.
Although a mediator can cover any area, it can be helpful if they have previous experience in that field – be it divorce or boundary disputes, for example.
For information on Kerseys own mediation service, follow the links below: