Whatever your business or organisation, we frequently encounter disputes. Many of these can be minor, but some are more serious, or at least more difficult to resolve. They can arise inside our organisation, for example, between employer & employee, or externally, with suppliers, competitors and customers, or patients. Or they can arise personally with neighbours, or with family members in business or inheritance disputes. Sorting out these disputes requires time, money and energy that we would much rather invest in something more productive.
What is mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary process whereby the parties to a dispute invite an independent third party (Mediator) into the process to facilitate dialogue and help them to reach a solution. The success of mediation is now well-documented, and it provides a welcome alternative approach to resolving conflict in a variety of settings. Rather that the costly and risky route to a trial, mediation offers a quicker, cheaper route to the certainty of an agreed outcome.
In person or Online?
Mediation can be conducted at a meeting in person, on site, or Online. Please see here for more information on Online Dispute Resolution (ORD).
What happens at a mediation?
There is no set format to mediation, but it usually involves the mediator hosting a joint session, where the parties have an opportunity speak (if they want to), followed by a number of private sessions with the mediator. The mediator will gently listen, they may ask questions to work with each party, and will only pass on information or proposed solutions with the party’s agreement.
Why does mediation work?
There are a number of ingredients which help to make mediation so attractive:
- Voluntary – Mediation only takes place if both sides agree, giving you more control over the process and decisions.
- Non Binding - You have flexibility to think outside the box and try out a solution, and it won’t be binding until a final written agreement is drawn up and signed.
- Independent third party – The mediator is not there to judge, they will make no decision and are not there to give their ‘view’ of the dispute. They do not take sides, and will do their best to reason and, where appropriate, challenge ideas. Their role and training is to listen and understand the dispute, to and help facilitate a workable solution.
Confidential – This applies to conversations in the joint session as well as private sessions with the mediator. Usually parties agree to the contents of the mediation being confidential, which again gives people confidence in having open and frank dialogue.
Without Prejudice – which means that if a final agreement is not reached, any offers, concessions, or admissions made in the course of the mediation cannot be used in subsequent proceedings.
If your dispute may benefit from a less confrontational process of resolution that puts control back in your hands, saving you time and money, then why not try mediation?
Toby Walker - Mediator Profile
Toby brings to mediation a wealth of experience from his litigation practice, as well as insights from the Courtroom as a Solicitor Advocate. He is a Partner and Head of Dispute Resolution at Allan Janes LLP and is one of ADR Group’s Panel Mediators. Whilst he has knowledge of the legal framework of most disputes, Toby tries to explore the practical and financial needs of parties involved, using that understanding to help them move towards a workable solution. Toby seeks to gain parties’ confidence early in the process and takes a pragmatic, creative and commercially-minded approach.
"After 25 years of good old fashioned litigation I would have described myself as a mediation sceptic, that is, until I experienced Toby Walker and the team at ADRg who showed me and my clients how its really done and why it can be relied upon to produce results. I now rank mediation services not just above the 'austerity' Courts we are getting used to but just about any court in the land." - Allyn Walton, Solicitor for the Working Men's Club and Institute Union
“Toby was able to quickly grasp and navigate our complex and acrimonious dispute towards a settlement. This resulted in a quick and cost-effective conclusion. It also avoided potentially costly litigation and all the time, resources and risk that entails.” - Hayley Beer-Gamage, Chief Executive, Experience Oxfordshire
What areas of law can you mediate?
- Boundary Dispute
- Landlord & Tenant
- Professional Negligence
- Real Estate
- Right of Way
- Wills and Probate