Alternative dispute resolution is constantly increasing in importance. The courts put pressure on parties to participate in settlement processes by imposing costs penalties on those who refuse. One of the most favoured techniques is mediation.
Mediation is a structured form of negotiation in which a trained, neutral outsider assists the parties to find a mutually satisfactory outcome to their dispute. It usually includes a prolonged phase of 'shuttle diplomacy' – the parties separated and the mediator going back and forth between them. During this phase, each party can discuss the case frankly and confidentially with the mediator. He will only pass information on to the other side with express agreement.
Most parties to a mediation will benefit from having counsel present to represent, assist and advise them. Until recently, there has been very little recognition of the special skills required of the mediation advocate. Of course, he must put his client's case as persuasively as possible, both to the other side and (using different methods) to the mediator. But he must also search out imaginative solutions that may enable the parties to reach a satisfactory resolution. That will often be in ways not available from court proceedings. He must advise, assist and support his client in what can often be a stressful and unusual situation. He must know when to be the champion and when to allow his client to take the initiative. The key to success is to have complete mastery of the details of one's client's case, so as to be able to address any point that arises quickly and decisively. This is a skill that barristers deploy every day.
Our Chambers has been one of the first to recognise the importance of mediation advocacy skills. Many members have undergone or are undergoing specialist training as mediation advocates.
Everyone listed on this page is either a qualified mediator or a trained/accredited mediation advocate. Several of our mediators are nationally recognised in their fields. Members of Chambers regularly participate in mediations, either in the course of conducting the underlying dispute or because they have been specifically instructed for the mediation.
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