A cheaper, quicker and less stressful way to resolve disputes!
Eventhough the law now requires you to consider other ways of resolving disputes instead of starting Court proceedings, in the current economic climate, mediation is an even more important tool in the dispute resolution box.
Boyd Carter is a Civil and Commercial Mediator trained in the Harvard Business School model of Principled Negotiation by the Stitt Feld Handy Group of Canada and accredited by ADR Chambers (UK) Ltd.
With over 20 years experience in all manner of disputes (for example, boundary and neighbour disputes, partnership disputes, personal injuries, professional negligence, Wills, probate and intestacy disputes, contractual disputes, building disputes, business disputes and debt recovery), he has the skills and understanding to help you reach a settlement of your dispute.
Where both parties to a dispute agree, Boyd will act as an independent mediator to facilitate a settlement of your dispute that:is acceptable to both sides, is quicker, more cost-effective and cheaper than taking a case to Court, is conciliatory so that both parties are usually able to work together again in the future and avoids a decision being imposed that pleases no-one.
Our fees are usually shared equally between both parties and should be paid in advance of the day of the mediation.
Mediation can be set up to take place at a venue and time (including weekends) that is convenient to both parties and, in some cases, can even be done by telephone or over the internet by web-cam.
Alternatively, if you require assistance with a mediation, Boyd can be instructed to represent you and is able to utilise his skills and knowledge of the mediation process to assist you in settling your dispute on terms that you are happy with.
If you already have a mediation set up but are looking for a venue, we have a Mediation Suite at our offices that is available for hire.
If you are interested in any of these services, please contact Boyd to discuss your requirements, how we can help you and our mediation fees.
There is no fee for an initial 30 minute discussion about the suitability of your case for mediation – you just pay for the cost of your call at your normal rates!
CIVIL & COMMERCIAL MEDIATION SERVICE
As part of our continuous improvement in the services we offer, we now have a trained and accredited mediator available to assist you in resolving disputes without the need to go to court or an employment tribunal. Sounds fantastic and very simple? In essence it is! Boyd Carter is a Solicitor-Advocate (Higher Courts Civil) and a Civil and Commercial Mediator trained in the Harvard Business School model of Principled Negotiation by the Stitt Feld Handy Group of Canada and accredited by ADR Chambers (UK) Ltd. With over 20 years experience in resolving disputes such as boundary and neighbour disputes, business and partnership disputes, personal injuries, professional negligence, Wills, probate and intestacy disputes, contractual disputes, building and construction disputes, employment disputes and debt recovery as well as family disputes, Boyd has a wealth of practical and commercial experience at his disposal. Let Boyd help you to reach a fair and pragmatic resolution to your dispute!
Dispute resolution through mediation can, where appropriate, preserve privacy and ensure a continuing relationship, which is unlikely to be possible if the dispute went to a trial at Court.
Our fees are based on the time spent in mediation and the value of your dispute but in all cases the costs are likely to be significantly less than the sums usually spent on litigation through the courts, as well as possibly avoiding months of recriminations, anguish and frustration and time lost on days in court and repeated visits to lawyers. These costs are usually shared equally between the parties and paid in advance of the mediation. The only additional costs that may be incurred by us are for travelling and for hiring an appropriate venue, should one be needed. Our offices in Braintree have fully equipped mediation facilities.
The courts can do no more than make findings of fact and then apply the law to them. Usually, the result is a judicially imposed one and very probably unpalatable to at least one of the parties. Rules of court require all parties to a dispute to consider if mediation may be a better way to resolve the matter. If a Court case is started without the parties having tried to mediate, there is now a real risk that the Judge will halt the Court proceedings until an attempt at mediation has been made. Not considering mediation can lead to heavy financial penalties being imposed by a court irrespective of the outcome of the case.
Conversely, in mediation, the mediator, usually an impartial third party, does not impose a decision or attempt to judge the merits of the case, so the settlement arrived at is almost always one that, at the very least, the parties are able to live with or, better still, join together in rejoicing as a fair and pragmatic outcome.
The difficult bit about mediation can be actually getting both parties to agree that mediation is a good idea in the first place. Most disputes become very personal and our legal system is geared to a combative approach – finding fault, picking holes, showing blame or error. People are not inclined to settle. They want their day in court. They want to show the other party that they were in the wrong. These are all very natural thoughts but they don’t really help and in the long run can prove to be very expensive regardless of the result achieved. Mediation, on the other hand, looks at the common ground, the positive aspects and helps find the best resolution for both parties.
There is no doubt that mediation provides an excellent opportunity for those embroiled in disputes to find a way of putting paid to them, not only cost effectively but with expedition and a high degree of flexibility.
How does it work?
Mediation requires the consent of all the parties concerned but if one or more have not indicated willingness, we can start by approaching them to help negotiate the initial agreement to come to mediation. Then, at an agreed time and venue, the mediator listens, allows the parties to express their feelings and explores underlying issues, challenging and encouraging where necessary.
The mediator spends time with each party, both in joint session and in private meetings (sometimes called ‘caucus’) helping each party to focus on their interests and the interests of the other parties, rather than their legal rights. The mediator will help the parties examine areas of possible agreement as well as disagreement and will also help each party to examine their own resolve, testing out their belief in the true strength of their own case and their resolve to fight rather than settle. Some of this process can be difficult, if not painful, for some parties and for this reason, the mediator will never test parties or try to expose weaknesses in a case in joint session – only ever in private.
All of the discussions are completely confidential – the mediator will not repeat or imply to another party anything that one party has said unless or until the mediator has been given permission to do so. This confidentiality allows the parties to trust the mediator so they can discuss openly all aspects of their case.
If no agreement is reached the parties are not in any way bound by what has been discussed. The agreement becomes binding only once it has been drawn up and signed by the parties. If the agreement subsequently is not honoured, it may be enforced contractually or, preferably, by a further mediation. However, most agreements are honoured because the parties have worked hard to achieve a settlement upon terms that were always within their control – unlike an imposed court decision.
The benefits of mediation
There are plenty, such as:
- Parties in mediation avoid the uncertainty and dissatisfaction often experienced in court or at arbitration, where they have little choice but to accept the judgment made, which none of them may be happy with or to launch an expensive and time consuming appeal. There is no appeal from a mediation as the settlement reached is the parties’ own agreement.
- Mediation resolves disputes fast – settlement is usually reached on the day or within a few days of the mediation meeting.
- Mediation is significantly less expensive than litigation – because months or years of litigation are avoided, as are the consequent fees of lawyers and experts. Nevertheless, in some cases parties may wish to obtain independent legal advice before the mediation takes place or to have legal or other advisors present during the mediation and this can be allowed – although it will add to the costs incurred by that party.
- Everything said at the mediation is entirely confidential to the parties, unless agreed otherwise – unlike the publicity of court proceedings.
- The mediation process is ‘without prejudice’, so that on the rare occasion that a settlement is not reached, litigation may start or continue without the parties needing to worry about the other using what they’ve said or conceded during the mediation in any subsequent court case or feeling that their legal case has been undermined.
- Mediation works in more than 90% of disputes.
- Mediation is voluntary – any party may withdraw at any time.
- Nothing is binding upon any party until an agreed settlement is reached. Once a settlement has been drawn up and signed it becomes an enforceable contract between the parties.
- The Mediation is arranged at a venue convenient to the parties, who each have their own room as well as a separate room for joint meetings.
- The Mediation can take place at any time – it is not limited to ordinary working days or hours. If it suits the parties to negotiate over a weekend, then that’s when it happens and, in some cases, can even be done by telephone or over the internet by web-cam.
If you are interested in any of these services, please contact Boyd to discuss your requirements, how we can help you and our mediation fees. There is no fee for an initial 30 minute discussion to discuss if your case is suitable for mediation – you just pay for the cost of your call at your normal telephone rates! If you already have a mediation set up but are looking for a neutral venue, we have a Mediation Suite at our Braintree office that is available for hire.
Frequently Asked Questions
The law requires you to consider alternative ways to resolve disputes rather than just by going to Court. If you unreasonably refuse to mediate and just start Court proceedings against someone instead, then there is a significant risk that the Court will not allow you to recover any or all of your legal fees – even if you win the case! Consequently, in the majority of cases, especially where both parties hope to maintain an on-going relationship, for example, in a family or neighbour dispute or when two organisations want to continue to trade with each other after overcoming the present difficulty, mediation is more likely to help you achieve a result that all parties will be happy with rather than you letting a 3rd party (a Judge) decide an outcome that may not be acceptable to anyone.
Mediation helps you reach a solution that meets your needs rather than one that stricly enforces legal obligations.
As you keep control of the process (unlike in a Court case), both costs and the time it takes to get to a settlement are kept to a minimum – you do not even need to spend out on independent legal advice fees if you don’t want to – and the mediation can take place wherever and whenever it is convenient for you and your opponent.
Usually the mediation fees are shared equally between both sides and will be substantially less than the combined legal fees of both sides if the matter went to Court.
In the rare event that settlement is not achieved on the day of the mediation, the issues in dispute that are really important to you and to your opponent will have been identified more clearly and this will reduce the time it takes to find your solution. In these cases, disputes are usually resolved shortly after the mediation and in all cases the entire process is likely to take less time and therefore less cost than if mediation hadn’t been attempted at all. In very protracted or complex cases a second mediation could be set up to assist the settlement process further.
If you feel that you just need a little more help to reach your solution, then additional mediation can even be done by telephone.
Even if you already have solicitors advising you in the dispute, an attempt at mediation can be beneficial and save you time, reduce the inconvenience and stress and limit those ever increasing legal costs.
How do I know if mediation could help to resolve my dispute? Give Boyd Carter Solicitors & Mediators a call on 01376 555000 and Boyd will be happy to discuss with you whether or not your case is suited to mediation and, if it is, the process, timescales and total fees that are likely to be incurred.
A FREE 30 minute discussion is available to all new clients. Boyd can also contact the person you are in dispute with to find out if they are willing to agree to go to mediation and to sharing its costs. If you wish, Boyd can also proceed to set up the mediation session to best fit the needs of both parties. At present, there is no additional fee for this “set up” service.