The default system for the resolution of disputes is a court system provided by the state. Alternatives to that system are known as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).
ADR is generally recognised as comprising arbitration, mediation (and perhaps conciliation) and early neutral evaluation or expert adjudication.
In business disputes mediation is the most recognised form of ADR. Mediation is a speedy, cost-effective and private form of dispute resolution where the parties seek to achieve consensus with the assistance of a neutral: the mediator. A mediator does not decide anything, still less binds the parties by any decision. The mediator uses joint (plenary) and private sessions with each party to assist the parties to reach consensus. In private sessions the mediator will challenge and question the thinking behind the position adopted and explore alternative approaches.
We represent parties in mediation and who are in, or may be contemplating, litigation or arbitration. We help them to put disputes behind them and avoid the personal and commercial effects of costly and lengthy proceedings. Parties also find mediation attractive because of its high success rate (typically over 80%) and because it allows parties to craft bespoke solutions. A settlement can be structured to include arrangements which could not be obtained from a judge or arbitrator such as restructuring a trading or business relationship.
We adopt a commercial and cost effective approach to disputes. We take care to understand our clients’ commercial objectives and undertake a detailed analysis of the risks and benefits of all stages of a dispute. We proactively seek the most advantageous time for a mediation, we anticipate what arguments might be raised and what opportunities might arise at a mediation and develop strategies to deal with them. We advocate our client’s position robustly and constructively at the mediation. We also appreciate that some cases do not settle on the day of the mediation but can be successfully concluded in the weeks afterwards, building upon progress made during the mediation.