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How mediation can help resolve a dispute How mediation can help resolve a dispute

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Mar 18

How mediation can help resolve a dispute

Written by Matthew Hill
Head of Dispute Resolution

DDI: 01423 724611
M: 07590 021148
E: matthew.hill@raworths.co.uk

When dealing with complex rural based disputes, whether of a property, family or commercial nature, the question of whether the case should be mediated is an important consideration that should be thought about at the outset. Indeed, getting a clear understanding of what a mediation would involve is important in deciding whether it could help a case or not.

In short, mediation is a process in which the parties jointly instruct a trained mediator to work with them to try and resolve a dispute without the issue being determined by the court. The mediator is simply there to try and facilitate an effective dialogue between the parties.

Whilst the prospect of litigation often needs to remain as a last resort, finding a resolution through mediation can have many positive benefits and include:

  1. A mediation is ‘Without Prejudice’ so nothing which is said during the process can be used in court. This often allows lines of communication to reopen, even in the most strained circumstances, and as a result significant breakthroughs in resolving the dispute can happen.
  2. Any agreed resolution to the dispute can be imaginative and bespoke. Resolutions can involve land swaps, rights being granted, apologies given all of which a court has no power to order.
  3. It can make good financial sense when compared to the significant cost and risk associated with litigation and can often make the process much less stressful.
  4. It is a flexible process and the format can be adapted to suit the needs of the case.
  5. Nothing is imposed and the parties control the outcome. Unless a final agreement is reached they can walk away at any point.
  6. Important family, business or neighbourly relations can be preserved, or at least not destroyed completely, which is often the outcome of the inherently adversarial litigation process.
  7. The agreed outcome can be confidential, unlike a public trial.

In my experience, there are few cases that are not suitable for mediation at some stage and more often than not the real issue is one of when, not if, the process should be undertaken. Having legal representation that understands fully how the process works can make all the difference in getting the best outcome possible.

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