Mediation involves a neutral third party, a "mediator", facilitating the negotiation and resolution of a dispute between parties. Mediation is a tried and tested means of dispute resolution and a highly effective way of resolving disputes - even in situations where the parties, negotiating on their own without a mediator, have been unable to find a resolution. The process is confidential and, being highly flexible, it can be tailored to the specific requirements of the parties in dispute. Unless otherwise agreed, mediation is not evaluative and is not binding on the parties - in the sense that the mediator does not adjudicate on the dispute or impose any outcome on the parties. Accordingly, the question of whether or not to settle the dispute and if so on what terms, lies entirely in the hands of the parties.
The principal advantage of mediation is that it is relatively inexpensive compared to litigation and arbitration. It is also a much quicker process. Furthermore, where disputes are resolved by mediation it is sometimes possible to preserve the business relationship between the parties rather than the parties permanently falling out as often occurs after litigation or arbitration. Mediation can take place at any stage of a dispute but it is usually desirable to hold a mediation at an early stage.
Our disputes lawyers have mediated all types of disputes and we are available to advise and support clients who are taking part in a mediation, read our frequently asked questions. Alternatively you can contact your usual Osborne Clarke contact or Adrian Lifely, a CEDR Accredited Mediator. If you want to appoint a mediator for your dispute, Adrian Lifely accepts appointments regarding disputes not involving the firm's clients.