COMMERCIAL (HYBRID) MEDIATION
A commercial style mediation is not just suitable for commercial cases but lends itself to some family disputes where parties require a solution in one day rather than a series of shorter meetings over a longer time period, as is the case with the ‘Resolution’ model (see under Family Mediation). It is particularly well suited to cohabitation claims under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 as these can be very expensive, risk laden and the outcome is often unpredictable. Mediation is a flexible process whereby the parties in dispute work together to arrive at their own solutions, with the assistance of an impartial third party, the mediator. The mediator facilitates the parties in identifying the issues they wish to resolve and in reaching an outcome which is agreeable to those involved. Solutions are not imposed upon parties; they are assisted to reach their own satisfactory outcome.
Commercial mediations usually take place when a case is ‘trial ready.’ In other words parties have likely completed statements of case, possibly witness statements and disclosure has been exchanged but there are advantages to the parties to have an out of court settlement. In the commercial style of mediation, parties attend with their respective legal representatives who advocate on their behalf in the plenary sessions and advise in private in caucus. By having the lawyers present, when an accord has been reached, the lawyers together with the mediator can draw up a consent order or agreement which the parties can sign at the conclusion of the mediation and which is then legally binding upon them.
Commercial Mediation has the following advantages:
- It can take place at any stage once a dispute has arisen, from straight after a response to the letter before claim as well as after the commencement of proceedings
- Confidentiality can be preserved
- Solutions are tailor made to the needs of the parties
- Decisions are made on an informed basis because lawyers are present to advise
- Parties are able to explore and examine different options for resolving the dispute
- Costs are reduced as disputes may be resolved more quickly and efficiently
- Comprehensiveness – time to ensure that all issues are dealt with fully