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What is mediation
Mediation is a speedy, cost-effective and private form of dispute resolution that is reliant upon the parties reaching a consensus.  A mediator does not reach a decision at all, still less one that binds the parties.  The mediator uses joint and private sessions to assist the parties to reach consensus.  In private sessions he will challenge and question the thinking behind the position adopted and explore alternative approaches.

Why mediate?
Mediation allows parties who are in, or who are contemplating, litigation or arbitration, to put disputes behind them and avoid the personal and commercial effects of being engaged in costly and lengthy disputes. Parties also find mediation attractive because of its high success rate (typically over 80%) and because it allows parties to ‘think outside the box’. A settlement can be structured to include arrangements which could not be obtained from a Judge or Arbitrator: they cannot restructure a trading or business relationship.  If therefore the parties want an ongoing relationship, the ability to craft a remedy in mediation is often preferable to the blunt instrument of litigation or arbitration.

What the Courts say about mediation

Mediation is no longer simply an option. Increasingly, courts in the UK and in other jurisdictions around the world expect parties to take the opportunity to mediate or face the consequences - such as adverse costs rulings even for successful parties. This is particularly the case in the English courts where a number of cases have seen penalties imposed on parties who have unreasonably resisted mediation.  More and more, parties are turning as a matter of course to mediation as the first resort, before litigation or arbitration.  Even when disputes are close to trial, experience in the UK courts shows that Judges are increasingly willing to allow time for mediation when costs appear out of proportion, and to demand an explanation where the parties resist.

Interplay with Litigation or Arbitration

Mediation, on the one hand, and litigation and arbitration on the other, are not mutually exclusive paths.  Parties often mediate during litigation or arbitration due to the perception that it can be better done after the issues are defined by the litigation or arbitration process and sufficient steps have been taken to enable the parties to properly assess the merits of their respective positions to enable realistic settlement discussions within mediation.

Mediation can, however, take place at any time: before the commencement of any formal process, during a formal process and indeed after a judgment or award whilst an appeal is pending.  

Mediators at Fox Williams

Peter Ashford is an accredited mediator and is available for appointment as mediator in all types of domestic and international dispute

Our experience

  • we acted for a household name against a trade competitor for disparaging their products to customers - claims in malicious falsehood and trademark infringement. We achieved a substantial settlement and letters of apology and withdrawal of the infringing presentations and data.
  • we achieved a six figure settlement for a development funder against solicitors for applying the loaned funds in breach of trust
  • we achieved a successful outcome for a Scottish heritage brand in an agency dispute, reducing the agent’s claim by two-thirds.
  • acting for the agent, we obtained a six figure settlement sum in a dispute where the principal had initially denied all liability.

Who should I contact?


Gavin Foggo
Direct dial: +44 (0)7967 593 601


Peter Ashford
Direct dial: +44 (0)7725 670 831


  • Top Ranked Chambers UK 2014 - Leading Firm
  • Ranked in Chambers Europe 2013 - Leading Individual
  • Ranked in Chambers Global 2014 - Leading Firm
  • Legal 500 - Leading Firm
  • The Lawyer UK 200 - Listed Firm
  • The Law Society Excellence Awards 2012 - Shortlisted
  • Investors in People - Bronze