• Bell Lax pioneered no win no fee arrangements for commercial disputes. If you lose, we lose, therefore we always fight for you.

  • Bell Lax pioneered no win no fee arrangements for commercial disputes. If you lose, we lose, therefore we always fight for you.

Dispute
Resolution

Mediation

Why mediate?

Mediation recognises that disputes are bad for business. With the help of a neutral trained mediator, the mediation process helps parties look beyond polarised positions and focus on the commercial realities of a problem. Rather than seeing the other parties as opponents, it is often possible to work together to achieve a mutually satisfactory agreement and then get on with business.

The advantages of mediation include:

  1. Efficient: it is usually possible to organise a mediation within a matter of weeks and the mediation itself rarely lasts more than a day.
  2. Results: the majority of cases settle at mediation.
  3. Control: the parties, not the court, control the process.
  4. Conciliatory: the parties work together to settle – and maintain business relationships.
  5. Preventative: there is no need to wait for an expensive trial before the parties resolve their differences.
  6. Bespoke: the parties can agree terms of settlement that create new business or even contain a simple apology – something the court cannot achieve.
  7. Informal: common sense rather than legal argument and procedure counts.

Bell Lax has helped clients to resolve numerous disputes at mediations. Liam Owen is an accredited mediation advocates with experience of negotiating settlements without the need for expensive and time-consuming trials.

Not all cases are suitable for mediation, although judges expect parties to investigate mediation before going to court and will often penalise them if they do not. If the other parties do not share your desire to resolve the dispute, our specialist litigation solicitors’ proven track record will give you the confidence to go to trial.

What is a mediation?

A mediation is an “off the record” meeting between the parties to try to work out a way of settling matters without continuing all the way to court. The parties agree to appoint and pay for an independent mediator who acts as a conduit between the parties as they discuss their differences. A mediator is usually legally qualified. For certain disputes, it is possible to appoint a mediator from within the industry.

A mediator can often help parties get away from entrenched positions or see the matter from a fresh angle. The parties also have an opportunity to speak to the mediator individually.

This is sometimes an opportunity for the parties to have their say in their own words rather than being questioned in front of a judge. Sometimes, disputes arise over differences of opinion or may be resolved by an apology. A mediation offers a much better format for resolving disputes amicably than a trial.

The format of the mediation is quite open. There is usually an initial meeting between all the parties and the mediator. This is known as the plenary session. Each party summarises its position in about 5 or 10 minutes. Whilst our mediation advocates are very used to speaking on clients’ behalves, many clients like to say something about how the dispute has impacted them commercially or personally.

The parties then all go away to individual rooms and the mediator comes and talks to them separately. This is a chance for the parties to speak openly with the mediator, who will not report that conversation back to the other side. However, he will be able to see where each party’s view overlaps and to guide the parties towards focussing on those issues.

The mediator then travels between the parties relaying any messages they wish him to pass on and giving guidance on settlement. As an experienced lawyer himself, he can point out where he thinks a party may encounter difficulties at trial or where a case may be weak. His views are not binding on the parties, but it is helpful to have a neutral opinion.

Sometimes the mediator convenes another all party meeting to discuss certain issues or he may try to settle the claim through shuttle diplomacy. If the claim does settle at the mediation, the parties prepare a settlement agreement to send to the court to draw matters to a close.

If the matter settles, the parties and the mediator will normally draw up the terms of settlement to finalise matters on the day and send it to the court shortly thereafter. Even if it does not settle on the day, mediations often help resolve matters within about a week thereafter once the parties have had a chance to reconsider the terms of settlement or to review their positions following what is often a constructive dialogue with the other parties.

Experience shows that around 70% of mediations settle disputes on the day with a further 15% settling within a few weeks.

  • Richard Kerry
      • View profile
  • Liam Owen
      • Liam Owen
      • Associate Director, Solicitor Advocate
      • View profile
  • Peter Lax
      • View profile
  • Angela Davis
      • View profile
  • Natalie Bradshaw
      • View profile
  • Qarrar Somji
      • View profile
  • George Gwynn
      • View profile