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Anyone involved, or about to be involved, in a dispute needs to consider whether mediation, as an alternative to traditional court proceedings, would be appropriate. Whilst participation is voluntary and the courts cannot force a party to mediate, a refusal to mediate without good reason will be frowned upon in any court proceedings and could affect any costs award made by the court. This is particularly in the case of building, construction and engineering disputes where the cost and practical advantages of a mediation have been keenly highlighted by the courts and are embedded within the protocols to which the courts expect all parties to adhere.
Mediation is a process whereby the parties agree to discuss matters at a meeting with or without legal representatives being present, which is supervised and controlled by an appointed impartial mediator. Each party will be encouraged to put forward their case and listen to any counter arguments, with a view to narrowing any issues and reaching a settlement if at all possible. The parties do not have to be in the same room and the mediator’s role is to facilitate open discussions, often acting as a “go between” the participants.
Mediation offers a flexible approach as the parties are not necessarily bound by the strict rules and remedies which govern the courts and a more practical solution can often be achieved. Mediation is generally confidential and “Without Prejudice” which effectively means that concessions or discussions in mediation usually cannot be used against a party later.
Our specialist team at Elliot Mather are on hand to assist you in deciding the best route forward, whether it be a round the table discussion or formal mediation and many of our offices offer a dedicated suite of rooms which provide a comfortable environment within which to mediate.
For further advice and assistance please contact one of the team who will be happy to help.
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