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28 Jun 2022

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Alternatives to court - Mediation by Lynch Solicitors

Alternatives to court - Mediation by Lynch Solicitors

Alternatives to court - Mediation by Lynch Solicitors

There is a growing belief that litigation – the court system – is not always the best way to resolve disputes.

People prefer to avoid Court.

This means that we have seen growth in alternative dispute resolution (ADR), an alternative way of resolving disputes instead of going to Court.

When parties litigate, there is a fallout from the litigation. 

The parties can go to Court, or they can engage in ADR.

If parties wanted to avail of ADR, what are the options?

There are many forms of ADR:

  • Structured negotiation
  • Collaborative law
  • Mediation
  • Arbitration

Typically, the most popular form of ADR that we experience is Mediation.

Why would a Solicitor attend a Mediation?

Often it is appropriate for parties to have legal advice before and during Mediation. A mediated agreement will usually involve technical arrangements drawn up and entered into to give full legal effect to the party's agreement. E.g. transfer of properties, pension adjustment orders etc. It, therefore, makes sense for people to have their Solicitors available to them for the conclusion of the mediation process and agreement.

We have been involved in cases whereby having the Solicitors available on the day for the Mediation, the issues between the parties have been resolved through the mediator, and the solicitors were then available to legalise the agreement.

What are the main benefits of choosing ADR to resolve a dispute?

ADR, instead of Court, is:

  • Less stressful
  • More confidential
  • More versatile
  • Faster
  • Less costly
  • Better for maintaining relationships as most people reach a mutual decision.

What exactly is Mediation?

Mediation is not counselling. It is not attempting to patch up a relationship but instead looks at what needs to be sorted out now that the relationship has ended.

There is no legal advice element, so while mediators may be able to help parties reach an agreement on sticky topics, a solicitor may still be needed to draw up any documents to formalise the arrangements.

It is based on the principle that people can resolve their disagreements if given the right encouragement.

Mediation is a non-adversarial method of dispute resolution, which means that the people involved own the resolution.  It is a negotiation between the people involved in the dispute instead of a negotiation between their solicitors and barristers.  Mediation facilitates the wishes of all parties involved to produce an appropriate result.

What role does a Mediator play in resolving disputes?

A mediator is not the decision-maker but an independent third party to the process.

The function of a mediator is to facilitate a resolution between the parties; as such, the mediator is a referee.

A mediator does not judge who is right or wrong but works with parties to help them solve to satisfy their interests.

The mediator in a case will always remain impartial and act for all parties objectively.

How exactly does Mediation work?

The mediator's function is to help an agreement between the parties, not to decide their outcome. Most of the time, there are two separate rooms for the parties. The Mediation is carried out in private and confidential discussions with the mediator - the mediator coming and going.

Why should people choose Mediation to resolve a dispute?

Meditation brings the parties together around a table right from the start, and you can nip in the bud any misunderstandings or assumptions.

It can be used to head off a dispute before it starts or resolves a conflict that has already begun.

Mediation provides a confidential, quicker, more cost-effective and more satisfactory outcome than going to Court.

An outcome can be achieved in the course of a DAY!  It may take months and sometimes years to resolve a disagreement in Court, whereas Mediation can be paced according to the parties' needs and schedules.

Many parties feel Mediation puts them in control of their destiny, with the responsibility firmly on them to find solutions that work.

Can someone be forced to attend mediation?

No, Mediation is voluntary and requires both parties' agreement to make a final resolution.


Afterthought

At Lynch Solicitors, we always encourage, where possible and in the best interests of all concerned, taking a route which saves both the expense and stress involved in contentious litigation.

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