Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) refers to ways in which disputes can be resolved other than through court proceedings.

ADR is considered in most disputes and ranges from negotiation to more formal processes, the most common of which is mediation. Most disputes are resolved without the need for litigation, and even in cases where proceedings have been started parties are usually required by the courts to continue to consider the use of ADR.

We offer unparalleled experience and expertise in these areas to ensure that our clients are well advised as to the suitability of these methods in order to try and resolve their dispute.

What is Mediation?

In civil law and commercial disputes mediation is a voluntary process by which the parties agree to appoint a third party to act as facilitator to settlement discussions. The parties exchange information and attend a meeting with an independent mediator.

The meeting can either take place online or in person. The mediator guides and facilitates discussions between the parties with a view to resolving the dispute.

The mediator usually holds a series of private meetings with each party on the day, at which the parties can discuss the case and can explore settlement proposals privately with the mediator, without admission of liability. If agreement is reached between the parties they sign a legally binding agreement. If not, the dispute continues through the court process and any proposals that have been exchanged remain confidential and cannot be referred to in litigation.

The benefit of mediation is that it can result in the resolution of a dispute at an earlier stage than would be the case if the case proceeded to trial, with savings in time, cost and risk. The outcome can also be more flexible than the remedies available through the courts, and a negotiated outcome can be helpful in preserving ongoing relationships.

The majority of cases that proceed to mediation settle on the day itself or shortly afterwards.

The courts encourage the use of mediation and an unreasonable refusal to enter into it may result in costs penalties in litigation, even if the party succeeds in its case.

Mediation representation

We regularly represent clients in mediation, and have considerable experience in providing effective advice and representation to seek to maximise the prospects of a satisfactory resolution of the dispute for our clients.

We consider ADR as part of the strategy in dealing with a dispute, and have considerable knowledge and experience of when best to deploy ADR, and in what way, to seek to achieve a positive outcome.

Mediator services

In addition to often representing clients at mediation, one of our Dispute Resolution Partners, Nick Parker, is a highly experienced mediator in his own right and is regularly instructed by parties and lawyers across the UK to act as an independent mediator.

He has acted as mediator in several hundred disputes on a wide variety of subjects and values since 2004, and accepts bookings from other lawyers and directly from parties. Nick is recognised as one of the leading mediators in the UK in the independent Chambers & Partners Guide and the Legal 500 Guide to the Legal Profession. He is a member of the Civil Mediation Council and is the national Law Society representative on the Civil Justice Council Judicial Liaison ADR Committee, a body set up to consider the involvement of ADR in the civil justice system.

To discuss ADR and mediation further, or to obtain a copy of his mediation CV please contact Nick on nparker@berrysmith.com  or call 029 20 34 55 11 or visit his mediation website at nickparkermediator.com