We act as independent mediators who can be appointed to facilitate negotiations in the UK and across Europe.
Mediation, sometimes referred to as Facilitated Negotiation, provides a well-established route to resolution. A third party (the mediator) helps the two parties work towards a mutually satisfactory solution. Unlike adjudication and arbitration, mediation does not involve resolution by a third party. Instead, those involved in the dispute are encouraged to take a step back and objectively consider the realities and the causes.
This approach provides a neutral ground for the parties who attempt to discover the motivations underpinning the dispute. This process is also the most able to heal business relationships. The objective is to reach a settlement by the end of the day. In order to do so, both parties need to cooperate.
Entrust the facilitation of your dispute to someone who can truly understand your story rather than someone who can only pretend to know it.
Despite the common misconception mediation requires some sector experience and industry know-how. The mediator is naturally a neutral party in the process. However, in order to effectively understand and facilitate the discussion, and assist in negotiating a stable settlement, the mediator needs to have clarity on what exactly is sought by the parties.
Being in the know greatly helps to rephrase or restate the problem and reach a meaningful solution. We are of the view that a solution can always be negotiated end a contentious relationship. But in order to make the agreement worthwhile in the long term both parties must be fully sure of it. That’s why we do not undertake mediations in areas outwith the construction, real estate and technology related disagreements. We are open and proud about that, because it is not the quantity but quality we offer in all our engagements. Mediation requires time, patience and commitment.
We have participated in delivery of some of the most challenging projects in the world and have true hands on experience of what potential problems may affect everyone involved in the process from employees to the largest players in the supply chain. And this is not an empty statement – we have been there and seen every perspective by being employed on different levels and on different sides of the contract.
We have the highest formal qualifications but the one we value the most is our emotional intelligence. Disagreements cannot be solved by application of a formula.
Putting it bluntly, we are well qualified in the area of our specialisation. But qualifications, despite the hype around them, do not add any value to mediation. What matters in mediation is the ability to convert negative emotions into a positive impact and let you make decisions. A university diploma or a professional certificate confirms only the formal knowledge or an ability to pass an exam. This is a skill, but not necessarily the one helpful in resolving an impasse.
We also hold the necessary accreditations, even though mediation is a non-regulated profession in the United Kingdom. A lot of mediation practices often boast with the number of professional accolades, panel presences and organisational endorsements. Again, none of the known and available accreditations can help to settle your dispute. Most however are likely to drive the cost of the mediation up – after all participation in all those schemes is not free.
In our perception the best possible accreditation we can get are the recommendations of the people and industry partners we worked with. Not only because they provide a true glimpse into our ethics and the way we operate, but also how committed we are to our values. If this works for our clients, this simply works for us.
Mediation is both art and science, with the emphasis on the former.
There is no traditional setup which mediation has to follow. Remember that it is the participants who are in control of the process and it is up to them to determine what is likely to work best. Simplicity and flexibility govern all interactions. Sometimes a facilitated conversation ends the problem. On another occasion a set of prolonged pre-meetings are necessary to even permit for a joint session. In most cases, however, mediation lasts half a day or longer and consists of the following steps:
- Introductions and a welcome – during which the mediator is being introduced to the participants and some ground rules are established;
- Exchange of statements – where the participants tell their stories, voice their concerns and express their feelings;
- Individual sessions (often referred to as caucuses) – during which the mediator discusses issues individually with each party to explore the nature od the problems and the solutions sought;
- Settlement – the point in time when, if mediation is successful, the details of the agreed settlement are being finalised.
The above cannot be viewed formalistically. The core principle of mediation is that it is an informal process steered, owned and controlled by the participants. The mediator acts only as a guide to ensure that everyone is heard and listened. Accordingly, if a different approach can is deemed to be more effective by those involved, it will be applied regardless of what one can find in a textbook. Frequently also one stage can take multiple iterations before the next can be even contemplated.
Mediation is the way to settle the differences and the process during which the conflict can be explored on the human level. It is not a court-led theatre or a legal roadshow.
Mediation aims to settle disagreements. Thus the natural result of a successful mediation is an agreed, stable and enforceable settlement. In other words, an amicable resolution of conflict that puts an end to a contentious relationship between the participants without all the legal ‘fuss’ and stand offs. That’s why many esteemed lawyers fail to be effective mediators. They also fail because litigation enforces and strengthens behaviours which are not desirable during a mediation hearing. Sometimes, however, mediation does not end with a settlement. And it is wrong to even contemplate that success in mediation is crowned with the settlement or that the mediator’s dominant role is to lead to a settlement at all cost.
Mediation even when unsuccessful in a conventional sense (thus with no settlement) offers a broad array of other benefits. Most importantly, it allows to discover the details of the problem that would otherwise be unavailable or unattainable. Frequently these little things are able to change the way in which the conflict or the solution to it is viewed and the initial struggles convert into opportunities.
It is also a unique opportunity to find out the other participant’s perspective of the issue directly and without the interference from a third party. To many this offers a fresh start to the resolution of the old problem, which previously has only been known from hearsay or correspondence (often legal). Have you ever played in Chinese whispers?
Some pejoratively indicate that mediation often acts as a test hearing and the participants chose to mediate in order to see their chances in the court. Yes, this often is the case. However, these practices should not be seen in black and white – after all the glass can be always seen to be half full and half empty. You would be surprised to learn how big proportion of such mediation hearings is settled shortly after the mediation ends.
If someone wants to mediate to ‘tick the box’, why not give it a try too? How many time you hesitated to do something to learn later that the devil is not so black as he is painted. Plus, what do you have to lose?
Most of the mediation agreements are standardised and shaped by the panels or professional organisations providing and coordinating mediation services. You should be however vigilant with regards to the way in which the confidentiality obligations are enshrined in the contract and what services are included in the mediator’s fees. Clarity should also be sought on mediation rules as these may differ from organisation to organisation and panel to panel.
Commonly any legal interactions during the mediation are minimal and confined to two aspects – firstly, the mediation agreement (which often includes a confidentiality agreement), and secondly, the settlement. They are important to the participant and despite the fact that many treat both light-heartedly it is essential to make you aware what really matters in these two documents.
You should always sign the mediation agreement. The mediation agreement sets the overall tone of the mediation and indicates the nature and scope of the service to be provided by the mediator. This is the place also where the liability of the mediator is delineated.
Our mediation agreement is clear and you can access it here: ………. In case you have any questions in relation to the document or anything associated with it please approach us. We will be happy to explain every detail so that you will have full clarity as to the process. And we will do that in simple and approachable terms.
Settlement agreements should also not be signed frivolously. We are of the view that it is important to settle, but not at all cost. And we stand by this opinion. Yes, settling on the day is great and has enormous benefits. At the same time, sometimes more time is needed to make a rational and conscious decision. Often, additional help from a legal or corporate representative is needed. We respect that and under no circumstances during our engagement within the mediation process we will apply any pressure on the participants to settle.
The settlement agreement normally ends a mediation and is signed only when a consensus is reached by the parties. Mediators tend not to get involved in drafting settlement agreements – this task is reserved for the participants and their counsel. Prior to starting a mediation, it is always beneficial to understand the nature and effect of settlement agreements.
Click HERE for more information about our pricing structure.