Mediation: an aid for business
Mediation is more than a process to settle pre-existing disputes.
Mediation can operate as (a) a facilitation tool, (b) circuit breaker and (c) early solution resolver.
Mediation is mostly seen as a means of solving mature disputes. These are disputes where the events have already occurred (often a long time ago), legal costs are being incurred, management time of the parties is involved sometimes it becomes “the day job”.
But why wait until there is litigation? True, many disputes need this gestation period to enable the parties to properly investigate the matter and weigh up the merits.
But does Business always want this gold plated route to resolution? Would Business not sometimes want a quicker albeit managed solution? Mediation offers this.
Facilitation through mediation: the “go-between”
Mediation can be used to enable parties to reach agreement about business projects where they are unable to move forward to agree the project scope. To reach agreement the parties could employ a “go-between” to assist the negotiations.
Mediation as a circuit breaker preventing a dispute developing : “early intervention”
Mediation can also be used to resolve issues which if not addressed could develop into something which could obstruct the parties existing business arrangements and possibly even lead to a breakdown of the relationship.
Mediation as an early solution resolver : “avoiding full scale litigation”
Mediation can also be used to intervene after a potential or actual dispute has arisen but before litigation takes place and where the parties wish to find an agreement to avoid incurring legal costs and wasting management time.
All of these solutions are will be quicker and cheaper and if successful enable the parties to continue doing business, trading and will avoid the unpredictable consequences of allowing the issue to mature in to a dispute involving litigation with all the consequences flowing from this.
I was very pleased to co-author this article (originally posted to LinkedIn) with Marcus Bowman. We wrote separately and found we agreed on almost everything – no doubt reflecting more than half a century of combined experience working as litigators and as Managing / Senior Partners of our two firms in London EC3.