Mediation is a fast and inexpensive way to resolve disputes, in comparison with going to court. Sadly, many misunderstand what mediation is about, believing it to mean that they have to give up control over the outcome of their case and compromise on their position.
The reality is that if you have a dispute, mediation puts the control back in your hands. When you go to court, it is the judge that makes the decision – and this decision may not be something you (or the other party) would have wanted.
The main benefits of mediation are:
- It’s a faster way to resolve your dispute, compared to litigation (court action).
- It’s cheaper than litigation.
- It’s confidential.
- It puts you back in control of the decisions.
- If you cannot reach an agreement, nothing said during the session can be used in court.
Mediation has the potential to reduce your legal bills to a fraction of what they would be, if you chose to go to Court. It is perhaps for this reason that some lawyers do not recommend mediation from the outset.
Mediation – confidentiality
The principle of confidentiality during mediation sessions enables the parties to participate fully. All that is said or happens during the mediation is confidential. Additionally the private meetings between each party and the mediator are confidential – the mediator will only disclose what you consent. In other words, you can speak freely to the mediator in private and what you say does not have to be discussed with the other party.
“I might as well go to Court, because the other party will pay my costs!”
This is a commonly held misconception that prevents many parties from considering mediation. You may end up paying all of your own costs and those of the other party, even if you win your case.
Firstly, your lawyer can only give you an indication as to whether you may or may not win your case. If there was any degree of certainty, we would not need the Court system.
If you then go on to win your case, your lawyer’s costs will be assessed by the Court who will usually make an order for the other party to pay. However, this is almost never for the full amount. Typically, you may recover around 70% of your lawyer’s costs from the other party, leaving you to pay the balance.
Lastly, if you (or your lawyers) do anything during the proceedings that the judge is unhappy with – for example, being uncooperative or causing unnecessary delay – they may decide that you have to pay your own costs – and those of your opponent!
When people begin to appreciate the sheer level of risk involved in costs, they usually find this to be a good enough reason to use mediation in itself.
Costs sanctions for refusing to mediate
Nobody can force you to settle your dispute via mediation. However, if you unreasonably refuse to consider mediation, the court may impose sanctions. This may include paying the other party’s legal costs, even if you win the case.
With the above in mind, mediation is clearly a far better way to solve a dispute than litigation. Mediation is suitable for helping to resolve a very wide range of problems, including boundary disputes, commercial contracts, divorce, landlord and tenant, partnership and director disputes, family business issues and much more.
You may also find the following article useful: ADR – it cannot be ignored ~ Law Skills
To arrange a mediation session, please call April King Legal on 0800 788 0500 or email email@example.com.