What is Commercial Mediation?
Commercial mediation is a flexible, voluntary and confidential form of alternative dispute resolution in which a neutral third party, the mediator, assists parties to work towards a negotiated settlement of their dispute. The parties retain control of the decision whether or not to settle and on what terms.
Unlike a judge or arbitrator, the mediator will not decide the case on its merits, but will work to facilitate agreement between the parties. It is the parties’ opinions, not the mediators, which matter. However the mediator influences the parties and if necessary their lawyers.
The mediation generally involves one meeting with the other party and the process is confidential and “without prejudice”. This means that what is said or written cannot be used in later proceedings if the mediation does not settle. The confidentiality of the process can avoid embarrassing precedents being set, as might happen in court proceedings.
The parties themselves should attend the mediation. They may be accompanied by their lawyers. In the case of a party that is a company or other association, its representative will need to have authority to reach a binding settlement at the mediation.
Commercial mediation provides a private forum in which the parties can gain a better understanding of each other’s positions and work together to explore options for resolution. During the mediation, the mediator meets privately with each party to discuss the problem confidentially. This allows each party to be frank with the mediator and have a realistic look at their case in private, without fear that any weaknesses discussed will be communicated to other parties.
One of the advantages of commercial mediation is that the party parties can agree solutions which a court would be unable to order. Well handled mediation can also preserve business relations.
The parties may agree that the written, binding agreement reached at the mediation itself is confidential.
Commercial mediation can be used in almost any kind of case, for example, commercial contract, computer/IT, professional negligence, property disputes, construction, insurance, personal injury, planning (and other disputes with government departments) as well as inheritance, trusts and probate disputes.
At Moore Barlow, we have considerable experience in handling mediations, whether for our clients or by provision of a mediator.
More information about commercial mediation
The commercial mediation process
The commercial mediation process is flexible and designed to facilitate an agreement between the two parties on the dispute that they are having. Usually the parties send the mediator relevant documents and their position statement before the mediation. The mediation is attended by the two parties and their legal representatives, with the commercial mediator helping to direct the discussions.
Commercial mediators provide an independent and unbiased hand to assist a settlement., They are skilled at looking at the issues which may be sticking points to a deal. Commercial mediators in the UK are specially trained and accredited, so they are ideally placed to help both parties resolve the dispute and start to move forwards.
When should you mediate?
Attempting mediation for commercial disputes is encouraged before court proceedings can be issued. Once the issue is known, the sooner the mediation takes place the better, not least because the costs of each side will be less. Commercial dispute resolution has a high success rate. David Foster has assisted parties settle over 90% of cases on which he is appointed as a mediator.
Types of commercial disputes
There are many reasons why businesses might find themselves in dispute with each other and if this can’t be resolved between the parties themselves, mediation in commercial disputes is often a suitable way forward to avoid litigation. Some of the most common commercial disputes include:
- Disputes between shareholders and directors
- Professional negligence
- Partnership disputes
- Construction disputes
- Property disputes
- Inheritance and probate disputes
- Trust disputes, including TOLATA claims
- Disputes with public bodies
- IT disputes
How long does commercial mediation take?
Commercial mediation is not usually a long process, as the aim is for the dispute to be resolved in a single session. Sometimes it may take some time for both parties to agree to commercial dispute mediation, to instruct an accredited commercial mediator and to decide on a specific date for the mediation session to be held, depending on everyone’s availability.
This timeline to get to the mediation will be different in every case. A commercial mediation could be arranged next in a week.
Commercial mediation services
Mediation for commercial disputes is a valuable service for businesses who are considering litigation. Resolving the dispute at mediation will save your businesses a great deal in legal costs, time and hassle in comparison to the commercial litigation process where the dispute would need to be ruled on in court.
Moore Barlow’s commercial mediation services are designed to make things as straightforward as possible when it comes to resolving business disputes. Confidential and with the benefit of fully trained and accredited commercial mediators, our mediation services can help both parties to find a point of agreement and enable them to move on from the dispute. Mediation can literally take place next week and a solution can be found quickly rather than enduring months of dispute.
How can our commercial mediation solicitors help?
Moore Barlow’s team of professional mediators can help if your business is dealing with a commercial dispute with another company or organisation which you have been unable to resolve. You can choose commercial mediation instead of going to court or undergoing the arbitration process. Business mediation is confidential, so can be very useful for disputes that include sensitive business information or subject matters.
We can mediate anywhere: at our offices in London, Richmond, Southampton, Lymington, Guildford and Woking, on site or online. We pride ourselves in making the process as flexible as possible.