Mediation/Alternative Dispute Resolution
Mediation is a long established process for resolving disagreements, designed to bring parties together with an independent third party (the Mediator) to find a mutually acceptable solution.
It is generally more cost effective and provides a quicker solution than going to Court, and in certain cases it enable parties to resolve a dispute and to continue to have a business relationship. It is also an effective tool to prevent the escalation of problems at an early stage.
Mediation involves a collaborative approach between the parties, with the intention that a solution will be found that is acceptable to all. It aims at rebuilding a relationship, rather than apportioning blame for the problem. It is a voluntary process.
The Mediator will assist the parties in negotiating a way forward, by helping them to identify the issues in dispute and explore practical solutions. Unlike the Courts, a mediator has no power to make decisions for the party. However, if a settlement is reached it would normally be put into writing under a binding legal agreement.
Information shared during the mediation will be confidential and “without prejudice” unless otherwise agreed.
Fees for mediators are usually split equally between the parties and a fixed cost will be agreed in advance.
We can advise you on the mediation process, identify a suitable mediator, negotiate a timetable, manage the process, represent you at the mediation and advise you on the proposals put forward as to resolution of the dispute.
Adjudication is designed to operate as an interim dispute resolution process. An adjudicator will provide a decision on disputes which is binding unless or until the dispute is finally resolved by an agreement between the parties, through arbitration or Court proceedings.
Arbitration is similar to adjudication, in that an independent arbitrator reaches a decision regarding the dispute. However, this is a final decision and will be binding upon the parties (subject to a limited right to appeal to the courts in very limited circumstances). A contractual clause may require parties to a dispute to undergo arbitration in the event of a dispute, or they may agree to this course of action once a problem has arisen. Where the contract requires arbitration it may stipulate the procedure to be followed or the parties may be able to agree the venue, the timetable, the number of arbitrators, etc.
In some circumstances, in particular a dispute of a technical nature or a valuation, it is appropriate for an independent third party to be appointed to reach a determination of the dispute. They act in the role of an expert, but their determination is final and binding on the parties.
Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE)
This process provides parties in dispute with any early evaluation of the legal merits of their dispute, based on the facts, the evidence and legal position. It is not binding upon the parties, but provides guidance as to the likely outcome should the matter come to Court and serves as a basis for negotiations.
In the case of each resolution procedure, we can advise, assist and represent you.
For further information contact our team or your usual contact in the firm.